“We know the terrible physical and emotional toll domestic violence inflicts on families, but these numbers show that it is too often deadly as well,” Cooper said.
Cooper called it a statewide problem and said he wants to do more to fight it.
“Just one life lost to domestic violence is one too many," he said. "So we must look for even better ways to prevent these heartbreaking crimes.”
A new state law requires law enforcement agencies to report domestic violence related homicides to the State Bureau of Investigation annually. Anti-domestic violence groups say the statistics will be a tool to help raise public awareness of the seriousness of the problem.
“We’re thrilled that North Carolina now has an official domestic violence homicide database supported by the Attorney General’s office so that the public will understand the true impact of this deadly crime,” said Rita Anita Linger, executive director of the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The breakdown of the 2008 numbers shows 99 of the victims were female and 32 were male. Cooper said only eight of the victims had taken out protective orders designed to keep abusers away from spouses or partners, and only three of the orders were current when the victims were murdered.
“I believe domestic violence deaths can be reduced with protective orders,” Cooper said. “Putting an order in place against an abuser can be a critical part of a victim’s personal safety plan, and people living with domestic violence need to know that protective orders are available.”
Cooper also said he would like to see a program where domestic violence offenders who receive probation are supervised.
“We owe it to those killed by domestic violence to look for ways to stop these crimes from happening,” Cooper said. “Supervised probation could provide a check on violent abusers and possibly save lives."
For on domestic violence and how to prevent it, go to www.nccadv.org