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DA workshop aims to draw in faith-based groups

The District Attorneys for the Western District of Louisiana are set to hold an outreach event Friday gathering together more than 200 people from faith-based and grassroots community organizations. The fifth annual, day-long workshop will cover two topics: domestic violence and grant writing. H. Calvin Austin III, vice chairman of the faith-based grassroots board initiative for the 26th Judicial District, said attendees will gain a clearer sense of what DA offices do.

“People need to know that the DAs just don’t handle prosecution of cases," Austin said. "There are other services available through a DA’s office besides sending someone to jail or dealing with case issues.”

The workshop will explore bullying and domestic violence intervention tactics, and the role of municipalities, churches, and local nonprofit groups. Monica Hudson, victim assistance coordinator for the Bossier Parish DA’s Office, said community groups must rally around the problem.

"We have domestic violence cases running rampant," Hudson said. "It escalate during the holidays, with the stress of not paying bills, not being able to afford Christmas presents, maybe job loss.”

Workshop attendees will get an update on the forthcoming Family Justice Center that could open next year. Austin said securing the funding has delayed the project. The event’s keynote speaker is Louisiana Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell. The April 5 workshop gets under way at 8:30 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bossier City.