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52 Deaths In Wisconsin Linked To Domestic Violence In 2012

Fifty-two people died in domestic violence-related murders and suicides in Wisconsin last year, an increase of 15 deaths over 2011.

A report from End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin says that there were three domestic violence homicides per month in the state. As in past years most of the perpetrators of those murders were men and most of the victims were women. Fourteen of the victims were under the age of 18. One of the report's authors, Tony Gibart, says the most common weapon of choice remains the same: guns.

“Guns are the most common weapons in domestic violence homicides and continue to pose a significant risk to both victims and innocent bystanders when abusers are allowed to possess weapons illegally,” says Gibart.

The report also found an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents taking place in the victim's workplace, a place where the perpetrator can often most easily find the victim. Gibart says his organization is also increasingly concerned about domestic violence in the families of military veterans. Veterans were involved in three of the 2012 homicides.

“There appears to be a complex relationship between trauma that one might experience in combat and domestic violence here at home,” says Gibart.

Gibart says this year his group is also calling on police and prosecutors to work harder to convince victims of domestic violence to testify in court against their abusers and to hold abusers more accountable when they violate restraining orders. He says convincing victims that the legal system will protect them can go a long way towards preventing domestic violence homicides.