New study shows a rise in domestic violence homicides

A pair of studies released this fall show a troubling trend in Wisconsin: Domestic violence homicides are on the rise across the state.
Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 10:54 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A pair of studies released this fall show a troubling trend in Wisconsin: Domestic violence homicides are on the rise across the state. According to the End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, domestic violence-related homicides rose from 60 to 65 from 2020 to 2021. Violence Policy Center ranked states based on the number of women killed in single victim/single offender homicides in 2020. Wisconsin came in 8th on the list.

“Not only are we seeing higher numbers of people experiencing domestic violence, but people are reporting increased severity of domestic violence,” said Domestic Abuse Intervention Services executive director Shannon Barry.

She says the Dane County organization has witnessed an increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic, attributing the exacerbation of the problem to COVID.

“As people were forced to shelter with people who were battering them, as people were losing their income, as they were dealing with other sorts of pressures,” said Barry. “Domestic violence continues to be an issue that holds a lot of shame for victims and who may not want to reach out for services because that means they have to admit this is happening to them.”

According to Barry, less than a quarter of domestic violence is reported to police, which is why she says organizations across the state, like DAIS, are crucial. DAIS offers dozens an alternative place to live at its shelter; training courses provide help in a variety of areas, including combating things like digital stalking. And funding brings new resources to the organization, like a roughly month-old text line, offering a more subtle way to get help than a phone call.

Barry says it is all possible with funding, which DAIS receives from the county and the Madison area community. She adds that the funding has diminished over the past two years as domestic violence increased.

“Solutions are there; they just need to be invested in to really meet the actual need of what the community has,” said Barry.

The executive director argues that more funding fuels more resources, which in turn will help more victims.

“As we continue to develop those and invest in those further, we see some plateauing and eventually decreases,” said Barry. “For many victims, they really rely on those community-based resources, and we can’t lose that safety net.”

If you or someone you know feels unsafe in a relationship, call the DAIS helpline (608) 251-4445 or text (608) 420-4638.

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