A Washington State study on domestic violence deaths found new wrinkles in the pattern of those fatalities, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. They include a troubling link between suicides and domestic violence slayings, the continued use of firearms in most such deaths, and the increased risk to victims who try to leave their abusers. The study examined common barriers for victims of domestic violence by reviewing in detail the deaths of 13 of them. “It really just gives you a depth of understanding that you just can’t get from looking at numbers,” said Merril Cousin of the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “In most cases, if it’s happened in this case, you know it’s happening in others.”
The project began in 1997 as a way to determine trends, said Kelly Starr of the Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Among findings since 1997: 32 percent of abusers who killed also took their own lives; firearms were used in 57 percent of domestic violence deaths; victims had already left their abusers in 44 percent of cases; half the victims had children living with them at the time of their deaths, and of those 147 children, 40 witnessed the killing; at least 45 of the abusers, 14 percent, were subject to a protective order.