The number of Connecticut homicides committed each year by intimate partners has remained consistent, averaging 15 people killed annually over the past decade, according to a report released Wednesday.
Between 2000 and 2011, there were 175 such homicides across the state, with 153 of the victims females and 22 males.
The findings from the Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee show 14 women were killed by a current or former boyfriend or husband in 2011. Of those deaths, children were believed to have been in the home during three of the homicides. According to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which released the report, there were 18 homicides in 2010 and 12 in 2012, a figure that was not included in the report.
It's concerning that the average number of deaths has remained relatively stable, as well as the number of victims seeking help, said Karen Jarmoc, the coalition's executive director. "We are seeing very consistent numbers in our shelters," Jarmoc said. "Our shelters in Connecticut are at capacity 95 to 98 percent of the time, which is, as you can imagine, a real challenge."
Jarmoc said there has also been a consistent demand for community and court services, including requests for restraining orders.
Wednesday's report included 15 recommendations, including raising public awareness about the availability of services and supports for domestic violence victims. The state has not yet found the money to pay for an advertising campaign required by legislation passed three years ago, said state Representative Mae Flexer, D-Danielson, chairman of the House Speaker's task force on domestic violence. Now is the time for the campaign, she added.
"This report clearly demonstrates that knowing where to go for help saves lives," Flexer said. "The women who were tragically killed, whose fatalities were reviewed in this report, often did not know where to go for help we need to change that and raising public awareness can help create that change."
The report also recommends that health professionals use a screening tool to identity the traumatic effects that witnessing violence can have on children, while increasing funding for support for the children. About 63 children were present during 33 deaths from family violence between 2000 and 2011.