Sad News: Domestic Abuse Deaths on the Rise in Iowa
In 2021, there were more deaths in relation to domestic abuse in Iowa than in the last ten years.
According to KCCI, "The Iowa Attorney General's Office said 14 women, four men, and two bystanders were killed last year. Four of them died in the last four months of 2021." Per the Des Moines Register in late October of 2021, 15 of the victims were murdered by current or former partners.
Through the first four months of 2022, three Iowa women have already died as the result of domestic violence.
Based on funding provided by the state, it looks like things aren't necessarily going to get better, either. KCCI adds "The attorney general announced a 20% decrease in 2021 funding from the legislature for its Crime Victim Assistance Division. The funding reduction could result in 23,000 fewer victims being helped over the next two years, according to the attorney general."
In a story put together by the Des Moines Register, the director of the state's Crime Victim Assistance Division Sandy Tibbets Murphy, pointed to the effects of COVID-19 as to the increase in death. She said this in a press release:
Some victims can’t leave their homes and services haven’t been as accessible. These issues have limited the ability to serve victims. And sadly, research has shown when services are limited, we see a rise in domestic violence homicides.
Policy director for the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence Laura Hesburg, points to the growing amount of gun owners as one key factor in the increased death rates.
This is what she said:
Usually, half of female homicide victims are killed with a gun. Last year, nine of the 10 of the women partners murdered in domestic violence incidents were killed with a gun, and four of five bystanders were killed with a gun.
The Register adds this of the deaths in this category over the last 27 years: "the Attorney General's office has tallied 358 homicides tied to domestic violence, including 242 women and 47 men killed by partners and 69 non-partner bystanders. Twenty-nine children and five unborn fetuses were also among those killed. The most common murder method was firearms, which were used in 55% of the homicides."