A professional working in domestic violence has updated a long list of people killed by their domestic partners. Marti Andersen heads the Crime Victim Assistance Division in the Iowa Attorney General’s office, and began tracking the number of people killed by a partner back in 1995. Anderson has been tracking cases in which someone’s been killed by their boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, someone they have a child with, or someone they’ve dated within the last couple of years. Andersen relies on the reports of law-enforcement, domestic-abuse programs and prosecutors to assemble facts on the list, which names each person killed in a domestic situation and gives a brief summary. She’s added people later, sometimes waiting a year or two until evidence comes up to confirm that someone was murdered by a partner. She’s recently added Scott Shanahan to the list, though his body was hidden for more than a year before the investigation that led to his wife’s guilty verdict today in Shelby County district court. There were no men killed by their partners in Iowa in the year 2003 and none so far in 2004, so Scott Shanahan is still the last on the list of men’s names. Since August 2002 when Scott Shanahan was killed, there have been 14 women killed by their partners in Iowa. But the partners in a bad relationship aren’t the only ones killed when it turns violent. Andersen says since she began keeping the list in 1995, 28 so-called bystanders” have been killed in domestic-abuse murders.That might includes someone who came to help a victim, a parent of the threatened partner, someone they’d started to date, and 9 children killed by their father, 1 by a step-father, and 5 by a man who lived with them and their mother. When Andersen began keeping her list, she wanted to know where the people were from, and says many people assume that fatal domestic violence was most likely to happen in a big city.Just in 2004 there’s been a woman killed in Des Moines but others in Jefferson, Sioux City, and Jesup — and Anderson says in 2003 there were no women killed by a partner in Des Moines but women were killed in New Hampton, Ankeny, Davenport, Denison, Stockton, Hiawatha and Spencer. Andersen says many people feel safe in Iowa’s small hometowns but often in a rural community “the least safe place for a woman is in her home.” And she says though Dixie Shanahan killed her husband in a well-publicized case that ended this week, it was a typical situation in many ways with the likelihood that the woman would have been killed by her partner if she hadn’t shot him.
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