The Days After
In the early '90s, a group that included a police officer, an activist, a judge and a prosecutor saw a hole in the criminal justice community's efforts against domestic violence in the city.
Ralph Peters, then a high-ranking officer with the Lafayette Police Department, and Linda Boudreaux, who was involved in the local anti- violence movement, were among that group.
"When we looked at what was available in Lafayette, we had all the services except for a batterer's program," said Boudreaux, now executive director of the nonprofit The Extra Mile.
Classes addressed anger issues, but "domestic violence is not about anger out of control, it's about power and control," Peters said.
The formation of the Family Violence Intervention Program marked a time when law enforcement and the courts were working closely together on domestic violence, Boudreaux said.
"We had all the key players at the table. As long as certain people stayed in place, Lafayette was a model community for domestic violence intervention," she said.
Peters said the group passed the hat for membership dues and shortly afterward incorporated the local FVIP under the concepts of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project of Duluth, Minn., widely accepted as the most successful program against domestic violence in the country.
"It just clicked," Boudreaux said. "The whole team worked well."
While Peters was a major in the Lafayette Police Department, he taught a mandatory 16-hour domestic violence training course for officers. He was also instrumental in the police department getting a grant that paid for officers' overtime when investigating domestic violence-related cases.
Since Peters left three years ago to become police chief in Natchitoches, the police department chose not to reapply for the grant. It expired last year.
Peters, now retired, keeps in touch with what is going on in area law enforcement.
"I feel that the system is working, but it could work a lot better because there's still a lot of domestic violence and there's obviously still a lot of women being killed," he said.
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A Year in Domestic Violence