Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office | January 17, 2020
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on Friday (Jan. 17) hosted city leaders, police, judges and victim advocates at the 2020 New Orleans Domestic Violence Summit.
The Summit, subtitled A Symposium for Solutions, brought together a wide spectrum of domestic violence stakeholders for a productive and enlightening discussion of challenges, deficiencies, needs and ideas to improve outcomes for domestic violence victims. Invited attendees included prosecutors, police, Municipal and Criminal District Court judges, elected and appointed city officials, health care specialists, social workers and victim advocates from the public and private sector.
“This conference provided the opportunity for these stakeholders to come together in a highly collaborative fashion, one in which all perspectives and integral agencies would have a voice,” Cannizzaro said. “We discussed the challenges faced by domestic violence victims in our city, and formulated innovative ways by which we could improve upon deficiencies and build upon our strengths.
“Domestic violence cases are among the most difficult for any law enforcement agency to investigate and prosecute. Success usually hinges on the determination of the complaining witness to see the process through, from the time of the 911 call or first report through the day of trial. Each of our presenters today represented a victim’s steps along that timeline. And for perhaps the first time in city history, every single constituency represented was together in the same room to listen and learn about the issues that are faced each step of the way by those who have been victimized and those trying to hold their abusers accountable.”
Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said, “I was impressed by the fact that you had virtually every component of the criminal justice system presenting their perspective. The focus of today’s meeting was not how to ramp up the conviction rate. The focus was to identify what the deficiencies are in the system, from the perspective of the victims of these crimes. And to try to conceive and devise and support a cohesive effort to better provide services that will reduce the potential for domestic violence cases to evolve into repeat offenses or felony offenses. So this was an important first step. And I think the people in that room can devise a better system, and that’s what everyone that was in there was looking for.”
Kim Sport, of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, said, “We have a serious problem (in Louisiana) with domestic violence. And so many victims are reluctant to come forward, for numerous reasons. What we discussed today, I think most importantly, was the prospect of a Diversion program for domestic abusers. That’s going to take another meeting, and I
know we’ll get on that soon. Because we really don’t want domestic violence to escalate any more than it is.”
Post-conference video clips for media use are available on the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office YouTube channel or through the following links:
DA Leon Cannizzaro: https://youtu.be/LcSYLUMKAgA
United Way SELA’s Kim Sport: https://youtu.be/JKbYM2AiGNk
MCC President Rafael Goyeneche: https://youtu.be/8jq9pbQy3hw