Domestic violence claims 34 lives in 2011

Mille Lacs County Times

The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women released the 2011 Minnesota Femicide Report last week. The report documents the number of Minnesotans murdered in 2011 as a result of domestic violence.

According to Liz Richards, MCBW director of programming, 34 Minnesotans were murdered as a result of domestic violence.

At least 23 women were murdered by an intimate partner, and at least one man was murdered by his intimate partner. The report also found at least four children under the age of 18 were murdered by a parent or caregiver.

In addition, six friends, family members, or interveners were killed in a domestic violence related-situation.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of each homicide victim,” said Pearl Crisis Center Director Judy Pearson. “Each of these victims was someone’s daughter, mother, sister, aunt, co-worker, and friend. Domestic violence does not just affect the immediate families who are victimized; it affects the quality of life for all of us. These tragedies highlight information that we get from domestic violence victims on a daily basis — batterers can be extremely dangerous.”

The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women analyzed the cases of the 23 women murdered by intimate partners in 2011 and found red flags for batterer lethality, including:

A large percent of the murders happened during the victim’s attempts to leave the abuser: 11 of 23 intimate partner homicides (48 percent) occurred after the victim  had left the relationship or while the victim was attempting to separate from the batterer.

Threats by the abuser to kill the victim are among the most reliable indicators of lethality, but they are also often overlooked by the criminal and civil justice systems. The report indicates that at least two women received threats to be killed.

“The factors that contribute to and continue to support the use of violence are numerous and the solutions for ending violence need to be multi-faceted, long term, and involve everyone in our communities and institutions,” Pearson said.

For the full story, see the Thursday, Feb. 9 print edition of the Times.