Domestic violence deaths in Idaho are higher than in recent years

Posted at 8:54 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 13:26:39-05

The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence reports that 17 domestic violence-related deaths have now been recorded so far this year. That compares to 17 deaths in all of last year, and only 10 deaths in 2016.

Experts say the most dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse is when they try to leave.

"What it is for the 'abuser,' if you will, is it's about power and control-- they do that through emotional abuse, they do that through coercion and threats, and they do it through physical abuse," said Paige Dinger, Executive Director at Faces of Hope Victim Center in Boise.

And that's what police say happened in Monday's tragic suspected murder-suicide in Meridian: they say the victim had moved out of the house she shared with the suspect approximately two weeks prior, and that she then came to the home to retrieve some belongings when the incident occurred.

Sadly, Dinger says this scenario is common.

"Especially within those two weeks as you're trying to leave or you've left, and that power and control is up in there-- then we know it's the most dangerous," said Dinger.

The National Coalition Against Domestic violence reports that on average about 72 percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner-- making avoiding danger even more complicated.

The question of why we've seen an increase in recent years, Dinger says, is hard to pinpoint-- but that prevention begins with resources like hers.

"I provide them with up to a week's worth of a hotel at no charge. All of our services at faces are free: our safety planning, our hotel, taxi ride to the hotel-- whatever you need to get safe-- all of that is free."

She says her staff at Faces of Hope aims to empower victims.

"They have complete control here as to what they want to do with their life. If they want to stay, I'm gonna give them the tools to figure out how to stay and maybe de-escalate the argument."

She also says they serve people suffering from any degree of abuse-- even the non-violent kind.

"When you have an advocate here at faces that's talking to you about options and plans. I think then they start seeing the light, like, 'I can do this. I have the tools that I need. And I'm ready to go.'"

If you or someone you know needs confidential help, visit Faces of Hope Victim Center in Boise, or call the Women and Children's Alliance Domestic Abuse Crisis Hotline at (208) 343-7025.