National Domestic Violence Awareness month began in 1981 and right here in Acadiana we have an organization called Faith House which was founded a year earlier in 1980. Within that year faith house evolved into what it is today.
“Originally it was created as a homeless women’s shelter and then within a few years they started noticing the need for battered women and shelter for battered women was an absolute need in the community.”said Nicole Lopez, Development Coordinator, Faith House.
At that time Faith House transitioned from a homeless shelter for women to a shelter for battered women. But, faith house isn’t just for females.
“Yes we do serve men. The percentage is significantly lower because most men who are in a domestic violence situation do not report their situation.” said Lopez.
According to Faith House’s Nicole Lopez about 1 in 7-9 men report their situation whereas 1 in 4 women come forward with domestic violence experience.
“We’re hoping to spread education about the issue of domestic violence.”said the Director of Faith House.
By educating the community, Faith House can also provide a myriad of services for victims and survivors.
“Emergency shelter which is what every body thinks of when they think of faith house. But, we also have a family justice center here in Acadiana as well.” said Lopez, “We have an attorney on staff so we can help survivors with all of their legal services, child custody, protective orders, restraining orders.”
Faith House also has non-housing services, offering counseling and support groups for victims and survivors.
“Faith house is one of the few actual domestic violence crisis centers in Acadiana. We actually serve 7 parishes from central down to southern Louisiana.” said Lopez, “We are the only emergency shelter within that area. So, the services that we offer are extremely crucial and also the fact that we serve over 2,000 survivors a year shows that we are not going anywhere anytime soon.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence or want to know the signs of domestic violence, there is a 24 hour help line available 337-232-8954.