Domestic abuse

This display outside the Rice Lake Police Department in 2016 reminds viewers that domestic violence kills. In 2018, the number of people killed was 67.

According to the newly released Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report, 47 people in Wisconsin lost their lives to domestic violence in 2018. Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, announced the release of the report at the Women’s Center in Waukesha along with Angela Mancuso, executive director of the Women’s Center, Landon Nyren, lieutenant at city of Delafield Police, and Buck Blodgett, executive director of The LOVE>hate Project.

Of the individuals who died because of domestic violence in 2018, 39 were victims of domestic violence homicides and eight were perpetrators of homicides or attempted homicides who then committed suicide.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin has been producing the annual report since 2000. Since 2005, firearms have killed more people in domestic violence homicides in Wiscnsin than all other methods of killing combined. Firearms were the method of homicide in 65% of the 2018 cases, despite the fact that 29% of the perpetrators were legally prohibited from owning one, many due to previous charges of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence-related homicides are tragedies that can be prevented. Forty-seven individuals lost their lives to domestic violence in 2018. Communities can and should take ownership of the solutions to domestic violence. If we continue to focus solely on abusers and victims and don’t address the underlying causes that support violence, we will never end it,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

The report contains a discussion of domestic violence lethality risk factors. Thirty-seven percent of victims were killed while trying to leave their relationship or after the relationship had ended. Knowledge of risk factors can help service providers identify victims who are at the greatest risk of being killed and provide them with enhanced outreach and services.

No victim in Wisconsin should have to take the courageous step of leaving an abusive relationship without the safety and support offered by domestic violence victim advocates and without the benefit of a coordinated community response that is designed to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

“This report highlights findings that point to clear warning signs for domestic violence killings that inform our daily interactions with victims as we work to empower survivors and prevent future domestic violence deaths,” said Seger. “Domestic violence is a societal issue, and our 2018 Homicide Report includes information on the work to end domestic violence through primary prevention.”

We are all affected by the 47 individuals lost to domestic violence homicide last year. In our report, we included this reminder from one victim’s family member: “She was a person; she wasn’t just a victim of a crime. Her daughter wasn’t just some little girl that was killed. They were people. They were so much to so many people. They were people who had lives and people who cared for them.”

To review the report: endabusewi.org/homicide-reports/.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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