October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
During this month, there is a call “on all Americans to promote the safety and liberty of the women, men, and children who are subjected to violent, intimidating, or controlling behavior at the hands of those closest to them.”
While domestic violence is taken seriously in our state and throughout the country, Illinois is currently experiencing a rise in domestic violence homicides, which could be related to state budget cuts.
Let’s take a closer look at these domestic violence-related homicides and what it could mean if you are accused of domestic violence.
Illinois’ Domestic Violence Homicides: The Facts You Should Know
According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV), from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, there were 44 domestic violence incidents that resulted in 61 deaths – 47 homicides and 14 suicides – here in our state.
Here are a few statistics concerning these deaths:
- Cook County had 13 domestic violence homicides – the most of any Illinois county.
- Firearm use (over 40 percent, with 19 incidents) and stabbing (36 percent, with 17 incidents) were the two main causes of the homicides.
- A male perpetrator was responsible for 85 percent – 52 total deaths – of the domestic violence homicides and suicides.
- Regarding the deaths, 15 were the perpetrator’s wife, five were his mother, five were his current girlfriend, four were his ex-girlfriend, three were his daughter, and one was his ex-wife.
- Six of the fatalities involved children under 18 – five females and one male. Thirty-three women and 22 men over the age of 18 made up the rest of the fatalities.
Perhaps the most important statistic, however, is that while there were 61 total deaths in this past fiscal year, there were only 49 deaths during the 2016 fiscal year.
Why did our state suffer from 12 more deaths this year?
Reasons for the Increase in the Number of Domestic Violence Homicides in Illinois
Although we can’t point a finger at an exact cause, the reason for the increase in deaths could possibly be the result of not having a state budget for two years. The budget cuts caused a number of domestic violence agencies and organizations to shut their doors or cut services.
Vicki Smith, the executive director of the ICADV, said, “We stop doing community education, we stop doing community programs, we cut back on staff, that’s where the cost is, so if we have fewer people available. We’re less available to people in crisis.”
In other words, people could end up in a life-threatening situation if domestic violence services are unavailable immediately.
Fortunately for this fiscal year, the Illinois domestic violence agencies are fully funded, but, as previous years have shown, that funding is not guaranteed for the following year.
Beating Your Illinois Domestic Violence Charges
When there’s an uptick in certain crimes, it usually means that law enforcement will be out in full force in order to curb these crimes from happening. The current rise in domestic violence homicides will be no different.
Law enforcement will be cracking down even more on domestic violence incidents, which, unfortunately, could lead to false accusations and allegations.
Don’t get caught in the domestic violence crackdown. If you find yourself facing domestic violence charges, reach out to an experienced Illinois domestic violence attorney to fight for your rights and beat your domestic violence charges today.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.