Study shows 50 percent of female murder victims slain by intimate partner in New York State

Domestic violence killings in New York state more than doubled other types of homicides over a recent one-year period, statistics revealed last week.

The data issued by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showed a near 25 percent spike in the number of “intimate partner” homicides from 2007 to 2008 — and the increase was 45 percent in counties outside New York City.

And while only 4 percent of male homicide victims 16 and older were killed by an intimate partner in 2008, the figure was nearly 50 percent for women 16 and older.

“That is a stunning statistic,” said Amy Barasch, executive director of the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, which advises and trains state leaders and agencies.

Overall, the numbers showed domestic killings — those involving intimate partners, family members or children — represented 147 of the state’s 830 homicide victims in 2008. By contrast, 137 of the state’s 803 homicide victims in 2007 were killed by domestic violence.

That means domestic killings increased 7.3 percent, compared to the 2.6 percent increase for other homicides.

The hike was among several trends reported among the categories that included gender, age and race as well as location within the state.

Among the findings, released at the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

While women represented less than 10 percent of the non-domestic homicide victims statewide in 2008, they accounted for nearly 75 percent of the victims in intimate partner killings.

Whites accounted for 30 percent of non-domestic homicide victims — but more than 62 percent of intimate partners killed.

Females in New York City accounted for 52 percent of the homicide victims of domestic violence in 2008. The percentage in the rest of the state was nearly 71 percent.

The vast majority of intimate partner killings — 56 percent — across the state involved knives, weapons that cut, or blunt objects. Less than 25 percent involved guns.

Police reported more than a 30 percent drop in the number of domestic violence killings of children, from 19 in 2007 to 12 last year.

The report was based on data that law enforcement agencies around the state send to DCJS.

It defined intimate partner victims as spouses, ex-spouses, common-law spouses, sexual partners, ex-sexual partners and same-sex partners. It defined child victims as those killed by a biological or adoptive parent or an intimate partner of a parent.

Locally, numbers showed a slight increase with few cases.

One of the 10 homicides in Albany County last year, the killing of a child, involved domestic violence. There had been none in 2007.

Rensselaer County had two domestic killings in 2008 — one involving a child victim, the other an intimate partner. There had been one domestic violence victim in 2007 killed by a family member.

Schenectady County, which had no domestic violence killings in 2007, had two intimate partner homicides in 2008.

Saratoga County no domestic violence homicides either year.


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