Story By: Linnea Allen

SHREVEPORT, La. — Domestic violence has been on the rise during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, victims need to know how to escape the violence.

Project Celebration is the state-designated domestic violence program for northwest Louisiana, serving seven parishes. The organization works closely with the Northwest Louisiana Family Justice Center and parish and city law enforcement to assist victims.

“We have a domestic violence safe house, we offer counseling. We also offer children, and women’s groups. We have legal assistance,” said Petrina Jenkins, outreach director for Project Celebration. “We have a person on staff who actually assists with protective orders and who goes to court with people who are seeking help from abuse. So, everything that we have is completely free and completely confidential.”

In assisting victims, Jenkins said time is an incredibly important factor in most situations.

“One of the most dangerous times of relationships is once the victim tries to leave,” Jenkins said. “Over 80% of women who are killed as the result of domestic violence are killed trying to leave. So that is a very, very dangerous time. So, when you get to the point where you need to leave and you call Project Celebration, you call the police or the Family Justice Center, it is our obligation to make sure that you get to where you need to be safely.”

Project Celebration offers a safe haven for women and children who need to escape violent situations.

“A lot of times, women leave these situations with just the clothes on their backs. So we try to encompass every single need that that individual may have to help them become self-sufficient. And of course, free of violence,” said Jenkins. “Our safe house is in a completely undisclosed location. A lot of times we don’t even let police know where it is. We actually meet to get the survivor and get them to shelter.”

If you or someone you care about is in an abusive situation, please reach out to Project Celebration at 318-256-6242 or the NWLA Family Justice Center at 318-584-7171. Or you can call the 24-hour Louisiana State Crisis Line at (888) 411-1333 for immediate assistance. All services are free and confidential.

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