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Criminal Domestic Violence Down - Shelter Use Up

April 2, 2007

Charleston, WV - Domestic violence shelters are busier than ever in West Virginia, yet the official number of crimes is at its lowest point in years, according to federal statistics. The National Crime Victimization Survey shows intimate partner violence is down about two-thirds. Joyce Cook with the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence explains that shelters stay busy even when crimes are down because there are so many different kinds of domestic violence.

"[Abuse takes the forms of] financial control, using the children, isolating, emotional, psychological abuse that are very powerful, and are not criminal."

Cook points out that that although nationally, fatal attacks are down, there were 44 deaths related to domestic violence in West Virginia last year. The report says one reason domestic partner violence may be down is because women are more assertive these days. Cook argues that's not true because domestic violence is not related to a woman's personality.

"Many independent, assertive women are victims of domestic violence. Violence occurs because batterers choose to use those tactics of control, whether or not the victim is assertive."

The report is at

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WV