Researchers say historical evidence indicates domestic violence rises as the economy tanks, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A worker at a local domestic violence shelter said she is experiencing firsthand that this is the case in Las Vegas. A police official said domestic violence-related homicides have well surpassed last year’s totals. There have been 34 domestic violence-related homicides this year compared with 27 in 2007. There were also 34 domestic violence-related homicides in 2006. The 2008 figure increases to 43 when police add a new category begun this year to classify homicides, which they call slayings with a domestic nexus. Police said there have been nine domestic-nexus slayings in which a former lover kills a former partner or that partner’s significant other or spouse.
Bill Sousa, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said domestic violence rates are tied to the economy. “If there are crimes that go up during poor economic times, domestic violence is one that will go up,” Sousa said. “People are under more stress. More stress leads to more aggression. And more aggression leads to higher assault rates.” Julie Proctor of the nonprofit SAFE House, which stands for Stop Abuse in the Family Environment, is seeing anecdotal evidence of this. “It definitely has made an impact on the victims and these batterers,” Proctor said. “A lot of people are in foreclosure. They are losing their jobs. We’re getting feedback like that.” Still, the newspaper concludes that “most instances of domestic violence slayings are difficult to trace to the economy, but some are not.”