Domestic violence fatality report shines light on pandemic’s cost to victims

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month(Source: WAFF)
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:56 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Seventeen people (eleven women, four men, and two bystanders) lost their lives as a result of domestic violence in the first nine months of 2021.

“The number of fatalities in the first nine months of 2021 is equal to all of those recorded in 2020, and with three more months to go, is a sign of a tragic trajectory,” said Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, CVAD (Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division) director.

The 17 deaths in 2020 were the most since 2010, according to the Domestic Violence Fatality Chronicle. The report, issued twice a year since 1995 by the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division, details the lives lost to domestic violence in the state of Iowa. The report’s fall release each October coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Since 1995, 358 men, women, and bystanders, including minors, have been killed in domestic violence in Iowa.

“These fatalities shine a spotlight on the challenges Iowans have encountered in receiving domestic violence services during the pandemic,” said Tibbetts Murphy. “Some victims can’t leave their homes and services haven’t been as accessible. These issues have limited the ability to serve victims. And sadly, research has shown when services are limited, we see a rise in domestic violence homicides.”

Last month, CVAD announced that it received $12.76 million in federal funds for victim assistance and compensation programs in Iowa. The award represents a decrease in funding from the $17.9 million awarded in the previous fiscal year. CVAD has anticipated that funding decreases would result in roughly 5,000 fewer victims of crime served by these programs in 2021 and nearly 23,500 fewer in 2022. Tibbetts Murphy says it remains important to ensure available services are reaching Iowans.

There are a number of domestic violence resources available, including:

Iowa Domestic Violence Helpline - 800-770-1650

  • Is free and confidential
  • Answers calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Can connect to nearest Iowa programs, which:
    • Offer crisis counseling and safety planning
    • Refer to shelter and housing assistance
    • Provide legal advocacy
    • Provide access to community resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline - 800-799-SAFE or 799-7233; TTY 800-787-3224; Text Line – Text “START” to 88788

  • Free and confidential, available 24/7
  • Can connect to local resources and programs

Love is Respect Teen Dating Violence Hotline - 866-331-9474; Text Line – Text “LOVEIS” to 22522

  • Free and confidential
  • Can connect to local resources, provides information about personal safety and healthy relationships

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