A new report shows there were 22 domestic violence related deaths in 2013, down from 30 the year before. Utah Domestic Violence Coalition Director Peg Coleman said the number is still too high, but does show that progress has been made.
“The good news is that the number of fatalities did go down and I think it is because more systems this past year really have started to work together more closely and understand the intersections of domestic violence with other issues,” Coleman said.
Domestic violence is often paired with factors such as substance abuse, mental health issues, and suicide. Coleman said one of the coalition’s objectives is to bring together domestic violence fighting non-profits with service providers in these areas.
Coleman said all of the perpetrators of deadly force in 2013 were men, and nearly all of the occasions included handguns.
Though Coleman acknowledges that women can be perpetrators of domestic violence, she said facts like these should lead to policy changes such as restriction of firearm access for those with protection orders or history of mental illness.
“What we see a lot of is families suffering in silence and kids really watching a lot of violence over chronically long periods of time and that’s so incredibly damaging."
Coleman said Utah’s rate of domestic violence is higher than the national average but early intervention can help prevent escalation of violence.
For support or help leaving a violent relationship, call 1-800-897-LINK (5465).