Coalition Releases Study On Domestic Violence Fatalities

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence has released a study reviewing the number of fatalities ? more than 700 people killed ? in the last 13 years.

The YWCA is a resource for resource for victims of domestic violence and people there and across the state are analyzing this new study, which found there have been 755 domestic violence fatalities in Washington State since 1997.

47 of those people killed in domestic violence incidents were from Spokane County.

Among them: Michelle Canino, whose husband stabbed her to death in the kitchen of their Mead home a year ago. Rebecca Schiering and her 9-year-old son were shot and killed by her estranged fiancé last summer. Samantha Franco was shot and killed less than a month ago by her boyfriend, who then turned the gun on himself.

Each incident helps to illustrate the bigger picture of domestic violence across the state.

According to this study's findings 50-percent of the domestic violence victims were between the age of 21 and 40, 55-percent of the victims were gunned down and 25-percent of all of the murders were witnessed by children.

?In almost half the cases of fatalities, we saw that women who were leaving the relationship, recently left had filed for divorce or were trying to leave were the ones who were getting murdered by their partner,? Grant Stancliff with the YWCA said.

Stancliff sees victims of domestic violence on a daily basis and even he was taken aback by the study?s findings.

The study highlights failures at every point in the legal process, from the 9-1-1 call to the sentencing of the abuser. Despite 157 domestic violence incidents reported to police prior to the murders, only 5 abusers wound up in jail for more than a month.

?If these early interventions aren?t happening, if we?re not getting them at the first 9-1-1 call or first arrest, these are really the results we're going to see,? Stancliff said.

The study sets 11 goals to improve the response to domestic violence, from increasing knowledge about teen dating violence to providing victims options for economic independence. However noble the proposed solutions are, how realistic they are is another question.