This is part one of a three-part series examining domestic violence. Each week we will focus on a different aspect of this issue.
Domestic and sexual violence impacts thousands of Virginians each year causing profound and serious consequences, not only for the victims, but also for families, schools, workplaces and communities on a daily basis.
It also has direct physical and emotional ramifications for the victims, family members and children. These crimes do not discriminate. They affect women and men of all ages, races, ethic groups and from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
According to Major Donald Lowe, Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, domestic calls make up the majority of situations that deputies respond to.
Domestic violence does not include just the intimate partner relationship, but also familial, elder and child abuse may be present in a violent home.
Abuse generally falls into one or more categories of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and usually escalates over a period of time, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
They also report that elderly women are nearly invisible, yet a tragically sizable population and uniquely vulnerable to domestic violence.
Older women are more likely to be vulnerable to domestic violence because of their traditional and cultural ideology which often prevents them from leaving the situation or seeing themselves as a victim.
In the incident based reporting system used by the Virginia Department of State Police, the total number of older domestic violence victims ages 65 and older increased by 35 percent in Virginia from 2006 to 2010.
The ultimate tragedy in domestic violence cases is homicide. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, on average three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
The information recorded in the reporting system reveals, between 1999 and 2010, a total of 1,693 people in Virginia lost their lives to domestic and dating violence. In 2010, there were 170 domestic and dating violence-related homicides. These deaths represented 43.5 percent of the 391 homicides in Virginia for 2010.
To read the entire story, see the March 28 edition of The Central Virginian.