Although deaths decreased in 2010, there was an average of one killing a week in Wisconsin related to domestic violence, accounting for 29 percent of homicides, says a Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence report quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Domestic violence is the most urgent public safety concern in Milwaukee today,” said Kent Lovern of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office.
Last year, police began working with advocates from Sojourner Family Peace Center and prosecutors stationed at six of the seven Milwaukee police districts to reach out to families dealing with domestic violence, so that help can be provided before a situation becomes deadly, he said. There were 1,700 referrals in 2010, but that number is expected to quadruple this year, he said. Mayor Tom Barrett said, “We have to do a better job of engaging men in the issue of domestic violence because this is a man’s problem primarily. We have to teach children that violence is never an appropriate response and that boys should never hit a girl.” The city has a variety of initiatives to address the issue. The Homicide Review Commission is beginning to review domestic violence homicides to learn what services families need before situations grow fatal.