According to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana is ranked second in the nation for domestic violence homicides, right behind Alaska.

It has also been ranked in the top 10 for the past six years.

The study also states about two out of every 100,000 women are murdered by males in the state– double the national average.

Yet, these rates are improving in Northeast Louisiana.

Local advocate, Valerie Bowman, said the domestic violence homicide rates in Northeast Louisiana are 70-percent lower than they were in 2011.

She attributed this to the community’s ‘Safe Task Force’.

“The Safe Task Force is a group of partners throughout the community that works with victims,” Bowman added. “It includes the sheriff’s office, the Monroe Police Department, the West Monroe Police Department along with the D.A.’s and many community resources like hospitals, universities, counseling centers, supervised visitation.”

Bowman said the Safe Task Force works together to offer services like counseling– free and confidential– to those who need help.