Police in Iowa City continue to investigate the fatal shooting of two men, an apparent murder-suicide linked to a family problem, as a man in a Des Moines hospital recovers from being shot by Clarke County deputies who say he charged them with two knives during what’s described as case of a “domestic trespassing.” Marti Anderson, head of the Crime Victims Assistance program in the attorney general’s office, has been collecting figures on deadly domestic abuse for years now. Since 1995 there have been 112 Iowans killed in domestic-violence murders, including 71 women, thirteen men, and 28 “bystanders,” more than half of those children. The figures make a picture of what kind of situation involves fatal violence, she says. Anderson says it’s a crime committed primarily by men, primarily against women and children — and she says it means often, women are not safe in their own home. In 39 percent of cases, perpetrators committed suicide after killing a loved one, which Anderson says means they “had nothing left to lose.” In addition to 71 women and 13 men, the figures show domestic abuse murders claimed the lives of 28 people classed as “bystanders.”Nine children were killed by their own fathers, she says, one by a stepfather, five by a man who lived with them and their mothers, and one by a man her mother was dating. Anderson says there’s a clear pattern to what most often sparks fatal domestic violence, and it could help explain why women stay with abusive mates. Anderson says people in abusive relationships are at the highest risk of being murdered when they’re trying to leave that relationship, she says, which is why many try to stay and work it out. The head of crime-victim assistance says the repercussions of domestic violence extend beyond the shattered families of murdered victims. She says the statistics aren’t “the essence of the problem,” the most important part is that the people killed were human beings, and left behind 110 surviving daughters and sons. Anderson says many domestic murders could be prevented by a no-tolerance policy toward violence in the home. Sixty-nine of the victims were shot to death, making guns a more common weapon of domestic murder than all other methods combined.
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