Harris and Dallas Counties in Texas are two of the deadliest for women involved in domestic violence. For both counties in 2013, The Texas Council on Family Violence reported that 20 women died during domestic violence incidents. For many years, Harris County had been the deadliest for women in relationships, but a spike in incidents in the Dallas County area resulted in more women dying from domestic violence incidents.
Throughout the entire state of Texas, a total of 199 women were killed by domestic violence in 2013. Following Harris and Dallas Counties, the next deadliest counties were Tarrant County and Travis County, respectively. The Council also reported that a majority of the women died by gunshot (58%) followed by being stabbed, strangled, and beaten, respectively. An overwhelming of the incidents occurred at home (76%). For nearly half of the incidents, the victim was the spouse of the perpetrator. The next most common relationship was girlfriend (35%) followed by ex-girlfriend (15%).
My colleague Neal Davis a Domestic Violence attorney in Houston has written many articles on Domestic Violence, including its effects on women and how it has increased over the years. You can read his articles here
Dallas police increase efforts to curb domestic violence incidents
Dallas authorities are taking a proactive approach to curb incidents of domestic violence. In prior years, Dallas’s domestic violence police unit had a bad reputation and had been known “for scandal, low morale and a crushing workload.”
Under new leadership, over the past two years, the Dallas’s domestic violence unit has improved its handling of cases and encouraged new, promising detectives to apply for an assignment in the unit. The changes have included increasing the staffing in the unit, eliminating clerical work that prevented detectives from prosecuting crimes, and launching a pilot program in which detectives check on the homes of high-risk victims. In addition, the unit has introduced a lethality assessment, which is a simple yes-no questionnaire that is given to victims to determine the victims who are at a high risk for murder.
While the recent data showing that Dallas County is one of the deadliest for women of domestic violence, it may just take more time for the policies to have a marked impact. Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter, says “[t]there’s no doubt” that the unit’s new strategies can reduce domestic violence incidents and, eventually, homicides.