BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — East Baton Rouge broke records in 2020 and 2021 for domestic violence-related deaths.

Local leaders report domestic violence cases increased when the COVID-19 pandemic forced women to be stuck at home with their abusers.

“Last year being particularly really bad and violent. Where we had a, I think a total of 35 domestic violence or intimate partner instances, where someone has died. And so that number was extremely huge, almost double from the year before,” said EBR District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore says 2022 is showing promise in a drop in domestic violence homicides. As of Tuesday, Moore’s reporting four domestic violence-related deaths this year. He says there’s a new trend when it comes to women as victims.

“Surely see more and more youth being involved in crime but not just crime, but violent crime,” said Moore.

After two years, the Baton Rouge Police Department is bringing back its public women’s self-defense classes. The classes cover reducing the risk of becoming a victim, defensive striking, and group escapes.

BRPD Corporal Wallace Britton says the demand for the class has doubled since 2019.

“A lot of times we get into a situation, first thing we want to do is punch, but punching can be very unsafe if you don’t know how to punch,” said Cpl. Britton. “It’s very important for those to learn how to take care of themselves.”

Moore says he’s hopeful crime across the board will drop as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

BRPD is offering four sessions for their women’s self-defense classes:

  • May 16th
  • May 18th
  • May 23rd
  • May 25th

Each session is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The classes are free and open to women 13 years and older.