Georgia Domestic Violence Deaths Examined, Progress Reported
On March 7, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence released the 2013 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report. These statewide agencies have coordinated the Fatality Review Project since it began in 2004. They work with local teams to review domestic violence-related deaths to learn how Georgia can respond more effectively and prevent more fatalities from occurring. The Report analyzes domestic violence homicides in the state and provides recommendations for systems change with the objective of lowering homicide rates.
Now, with 10 years of data from nearly 100 fatality reviews, the 2013 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report focuses on 10 key findings that hold tremendous potential to significantly impact the lives of victims of domestic violence. The 10 key findings discussed in depth in the report include Children Exposed to Domestic Violence; Teen Dating Violence; Economic Abuse; the Role of the Criminal Legal System; Civil Protective Orders and the Courts; Firearms and Domestic Violence Fatalities; Family, Friends, and the Faith Community; Detachment, Separation, and the Risks of Leaving; the Suicide-Homicide Connection; and Barriers to Accessing Services. Each finding is accompanied by case examples and recommendations for change.
Some of the main findings of the Report include:
Georgia holds the unfortunate distinction of ranking 12th in the nation for men killing women in single-victim homicides, most of which are domestic violence murders, according to a study conducted by the Violence Policy Center. Over the past 11 years, the Project has recorded the deaths of over 1,300 Georgians due to domestic violence. In 2013, we recorded the deaths of 116 Georgians due to domestic violence – 15 fewer deaths than in 2012. However, at least 14 people have already lost their lives this year due to domestic violence.
In response to these numbers, Judge Stephen Kelley, Chair of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, stated, “We are making a lot of progress in our state but we still have much to do. The recommendations in the Report can no longer remain words on a page. Everyone – judges, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, state legislators, private attorneys, advocates, faith leaders, employers, and all citizens in Georgia – has a role to play in in increasing victim safety and offender accountability.”
Jan Christiansen, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, urges readers to view the Report as a call to action, “The findings from the last 10 years are compelling. They serve as a foundation from which we must build and repair our coordinated community efforts to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. We must work together to do things differently for Georgia citizens who are victims of domestic violence – their lives depend on it.”
If you or someone you know is being abused, there are community and statewide resources available to you. Call 1-800-33-HAVEN (voice/TTY), the toll-free, statewide, 24-hour hotline, for a confidential place to get help or find resources.