Former Police Chief Ralph Peters Discusses Family Violence Intervention Program
When former Lafayette police chief Ralph Peters joined law enforcement in the early 1970s, he said more than 30 percent of the workload involved domestic abuse. Back then, all officers did was "restore the peace and try to convince the guy to leave," Peters recalled.
"I was shocked very early in my career when I was still with a training officer and we responded to a domestic violence call," he said. "He took the guy outside and roughed him up. I almost turned my badge in."
Now, Peters heads the Family Violence Intervention Program, a community-coordinated response program organized by Peters in the late 1980s that provides rehabilitation and support for domestic violence offenders.
The program, which Peters called a "batterers intervention program," involves 26 weeks of classes for both men and women convicted of a domestic violence offense. Issues like money and parenting often spark the discussion that leads to both mental and physical abuse, Peters said, and the relationship always involves a need for control.
“We give them techniques on how to live in a nonviolent, equal relationship," Peters explained. "Not in a relationship where they can control someone else’s behavior.”
Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation on the rate of women killed by men, according to a report released by the Violence Policy Center in September 2012. The study ranked man-on-woman homicide across the country for 2010 and concluded 43 women were killed by men in 2010 at a rate of 1.86 per 100,000.
Of those women whose victim-to-offender relationship could be identified, all but one (37) were murdered by someone they knew, 26 of whom were romantically involved with the killer, and 25 of whom were killed with guns.
Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee preceded the state in rank, followed by Virginia and Texas.
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