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Report: 1 in 3 VA Murders Related to Domestic Violence

October 8, 2007

Richmond, VA - One in three murders in Virginia is the result of domestic violence, according to a new report from the state. October is "Domestic Violence Awareness Month," and Virginia Powell with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner says although Virginia has updated its policies and laws dealing with domestic violence in recent years, those changes aren't saving lives. In just one year, 67 adults and two children have been killed in incidents of home or relationship violence.

"While these changes may be helping, it doesn't seem to be having a significant impact on the most lethal versions of it."

Powell says most of the victims were female, and most were shot. Further, 36 percent of cases had a documented history of physical assault before the murder, and one in three victims had told family and friends about being abused.

"It is critical that we as a society focus on the significance of conflict and violence on the terrain of these relationships."

She explains black Virginians have a 60 percent higher risk of domestic violence death compared to whites. The report points to education, intervention, enforcement, and new laws as ways the state could save lives. The full report can be found online at www.vdh.virginia.gov.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA