Mayor Landrieu announces "Blueprint for Safety" to fight domestic violence

Mayor Landrieu announces "Blueprint for Safety" to fight domestic violence

Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a new city initiative aimed at a more coordinated response to domestic abuse.

It is called "New Orleans Blueprint for Safety" and involves everyone from 911 operators to people in the criminal justice system.

"In the state of Louisiana, we have the fourth highest rate in the nation of women murdered by men," Landrieu said before dozens attending the announcement at Gallier Hall.

Last year, the New Orleans Police Department received more than 1,000 domestic violence calls.

"So that we can stop the violence, we can save lives and we can protect victims," the mayor continued.

"Our 911 complaint operators will be trained to follow a set of steps from the moment domestic violence calls come in which increases our ability to assess for risk," said NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison about the enhanced role for emergency operators.

Cops who respond to domestic violence calls will ask more relevant questions of alleged victims.

"Like describe the time you were most frightened or injured by this person," said Landrieu.

"I think it's great because it's going to start looking at domestic violence through a different lens," said Rebecca Rainey, Program Director for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children.

Officers will also ask whether it is a first time complaint.

"Very rarely is, you know, a police call, or a domestic violence incident the first time, or the last time," said Rainey.

Judges know the vicious cycle well.

"There is not a day that goes by that we do not have new domestic violence cases," said Municipal Court Judge Desiree' Charbonnet.

"Sometimes you know one call will kind of shake the person up and it will kind of stop, and then you have the other group that's just, it's ongoing and they're going to need multiple interventions," said Rainey.

Every facet of the criminal justice system has a role to play.

"We want to make sure stay-away orders are in place so those things are also important to ensure the safety of the victim," said District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

And experts said the effects of domestic violence can go well beyond the physical and emotional bruises. They said many victims have a hard time at being productive in society.

"It can affect your education, it can definitely affect your employment, we have women that are either losing jobs, or they are afraid to get a job," said Rainey.

The city received a nearly $400,000 grant from the Justice Department for the new initiative. Blueprint for Safety was birthed in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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