Homicides: It’s a tragic reality in our community that’s breaking up families and leaving children orphaned.
In the last few years, homicides related to domestic violence have surged to unprecedented numbers. Specifically, homicides related to domestic violence between couples and former partners.
According to the latest data available, in 2014 there were 19 domestic homicide related deaths in Nevada. The following year, that number more than doubled.
There are efforts underway to stop the cycle of violence seen in many of these cases before it’s too late.
A woman 8 News NOW interviewed who’s being called “Kelly” to protect her identity is in a better place after escaping a violent relationship. The 44-year-old says leaving her boyfriend of four years saved her life.
“He would just drink too much and get violent: verbally, aggressive,” said Kelly.
While Kelly was able to break away from her violent boyfriend, others in her position have not bee as lucky.
In 2015, 43 Nevadans were killed in domestic violence incidents between couples and exes, according to the non-profit group Nevada Network against domestic violence. That’s a whopping 126 percent increase compared to the previous year when 19 victims died.
“I am shocked, and I’m very sad,” said Desiree Petersen, a victim advocate for The Shad Tree. “It’s very, very troubling.”
A bill known as “Marsy’s Law,” is once again going before state leaders. The proposed legislation would provide victims with more resources as their case moves through the court system.
“They can be informed, or their family members can be informed, possibly when the offender is about to be released, Petersen said. “It informs of court proceedings.”
Marsy’s law is a constitutional amendment, which requires passage in the legislature twice, followed by voter approval. It was passed during the 2015 legislative session.
If approved again, it will go before voters next year.
“If you’re in a domestic violence relationship, whether it be violent, mental, emotional: get out because you don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” Kelly said.
In 2015, the majority of the victims died of gunshot wounds. Among the dead was a Carson City Sheriff’s Deputy, killed while responding to a physical fight between a couple.