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NYS Domestic Violence Homicides Drop in 2009

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – Today New York officials discussed the findings of three reports that provide a detailed look at the impact of domestic violence across the state. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The number of domestic-violence homicides in New York dropped 12 percent in 2009, and women remain the biggest target as orders of protection are on the rise.

Last year, 89 individuals were killed by their intimate partners, two fewer than in 2008. But the number of intimate partner homicide victims who were female - 68 - remained the same in 2009 and 2008, as compared to 59 women killed by their intimate partners in 2007. According to the DCJS Domestic Homicide Report:

44 percent (68 of 156) of female homicide victims aged 16 or older were killed by their intimate partner. In 15 of those cases, the male perpetrator killed himself after committing the murder.

In contrast, only 4 percent (21 of 585) of adult male murder victims were killed by an intimate partner.

The number of domestic homicides that claimed the lives of children under the 18 declined dramatically, with 17 children killed in 2009, as compared to 31 in 2008 and 39 in 2009. Five of the 17 children who died last year were killed by their parent's intimate partners.

"As this report illustrates, women are most at risk for violence by someone they know, often, in their own homes," said DCJS Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne. "Policy makers on the state and local level must continue to closely monitor these trends and other sources of domestic violence data so that we can develop effective responses to combat and prevent this crime."

Byrne said 89 people were killed by their intimate partners in 2009 in New York, two fewer than in 2008. But the number of female victims remained at the same, at 68 victims in both years. In 2007, 59 women victims were reported. Byrne identified "intimate partner homicides" as a key opportunity area for the law enforcement system to focus in terms of reducing violent crime in New York.

Other data showed that more than 20,000 applications for public assistance indicated danger due to domestic violence, a 17 percent increase from 2008 and a 41 percent increase from 2007. The trio of reports, the Domestic Homicide in New York State: 2009 Report; the 2009 Domestic Violence Dashboard; and the 2009 New York State Domestic Violence Annual Report, track and reflect indicators of domestic violence. Amy Barasch, executive director of the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, says "what gets measured, gets addressed" - she notes a consistent rise in all of the indicators around domestic violence, and suggests that the increases mean the systems are being used and the state is committed to keeping those systems strong and responsive.

Same sex as well as opposite gender couples are included in the data presented in the domestic violence reports.