Tools Multiplying to Reduce Domestic Violence

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), October 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

Tools Multiplying to Reduce Domestic Violence


Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Amanda Marshall

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It's a time to celebrate our successes while recognizing we still have much to do.

A 2010 survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control shows that nationally, one in four women have experienced severe physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. More than 15 million children were exposed to domestic violence last year. On average, domestic violence takes the lives of three women every day.

In Oregon, domestic violence accounted for one in three homicides in 2010 - 45 percent of all homicides among females were related to domestic violence. There have been 34 domestic violence deaths this year.

In 2011, Oregon domestic and sexual violence programs answered 175,295 calls for help, a 4 percent increase over 2010. In addition to shelter, these programs provided domestic violence services to 21,787 adults, 1,565 teens and 3,785 children, a 23 percent increase in teens and a 10 percent increase in children.

Children exposed to violence are at a higher risk for school failure, substance and physical abuse. Since 2009, more children than ever have been killed in domestic violence incidents when the perpetrator not only killed his partner, but also her child or children.

Rates of domestic violence against women in Indian country are now among the highest in the United States. According to the CDC, nearly half of all Native American women (46 percent) have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner.

A gun in the hands of a batterer significantly increases the chances the violence will become lethal. Family assaults involving firearms are 12 times more likely to result in death than those that do not. If an offender has access to a gun, the risk of death in a domestic violence incident is five times higher. If a perpetrator previously has threatened or assaulted his partner with a firearm, the risk of death is increased 20-fold.

Several state and federal laws restrict the possession of firearms by dangerous criminals. That includes those who have been convicted of qualifying domestic violence misdemeanors or are subject to an order of protection, if it complies with due process requirements.

My office - in conjunction with the Portland Police, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Multnomah County District Attorney and the Oregon Firearms and Domestic Violence Task Force - produced a training DVD about federal law prohibiting possession of firearms by anyone with a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. …

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