Local News

N.C. report: Domestic violence killed 131 people in 2008

Posted March 26, 2009

— North Carolina's attorney general says domestic violence killed 131 people across the state last year, and he's urging victims to get court-ordered protection against their abusers.

"We know the terrible physical and emotional toll domestic violence inflicts on families," Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday. "But these numbers show us it is too often deadly, as well."

Attorney General Roy Cooper AG: Domestic violence homicides 'alarming'

Mecklenburg County had the highest number of deaths at 14. But Cooper said he was surprised by the statistics in some smaller rural counties, where as many as five deaths were reported.

Wake County reported six deaths; Durham and Cumberland counties both reported four.

The statistics were collected under a 2007 state law requiring all counties to report domestic violence deaths. The study provides the first comprehensive assessment of such deaths in North Carolina.

Eight people killed in 2008 had taken out protective orders, but only three were current when the victim died, Cooper said.

He said the problem has been "swept under the rug" but that the state is working on reducing domestic violence through several initiatives.

Under a pilot program in Pitt County, people who take out protective orders get an alert within minutes of the order being served.

Cooper said he would also like to see a pilot program to determine whether supervised probation can help stop abuse. Right now, domestic violence offenders who receive probation aren't supervised, he said.

"We owe it to those killed by domestic violence to look for ways to stop these crimes from happening," he said. "Supervised probation could provide a check on violent abusers and possibly save lives."

Cooper said the state also has the Address Confidentiality Program that keeps victims' addresses confidential once they leave their partners. Since it started in 2003, 572 people have enrolled in the program through their local domestic violence or sexual assault centers.


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  • 1carpe Mar 27, 2009

    Just one more link in the justice system which is broke. The real shame in the justice system is what a person has to go through if they shoot the violent partner, even when and RO has been issued.

  • sherrycooks4you Mar 26, 2009

    my daughter had scheduled civil hearing just yesterday in wake county, and the ex was served his papers last Wednesday but waited until the morning of the hearing to retain an attorney....well guess what, the hearing was continued so the attorney could review the order. Just as a police officer in the courthouse told us, that is just a paper, and is worthless unless enforced. The laws really don't protect the victim. My daughter's ex-boyfriend lives in Alamance county and they didn't even follow the temporary ex-parte order by taking any guns...they just asked if he had any and he said no...he sold them...but did they get a receipt or follow up to make sure there were none...NO!!!!
    Well, she left the courtroom and went and got her permit for a gun, she has completed the concealed carry class. Oh, and the evidence she has is worthless because criminal courts don't take emails/IM confersations seriously. No wonder victims don't report this.

  • FaceDown-AKA_Maggie Mar 26, 2009

    The situation is a catch 22. In my situation, I just kicked him out. . .hoping beyond hope that things would not escalate. Inside I knew they would, they always did. The day papers were filed for custody of my children I ended up having to file for an RO (the second with him, yes, I went back before) because he came to our house and terrorized me, our kids, my family and our pet. Now, because I tried to end it as calmly and rationally as possible I'm accused of getting an RO for custody purposes. Meanwhile, I was trying to avoid all of that. I worry for my safety, but mostly for the safety of my kids. . .see, I was abused as a child by my father, I hated him for it. My parents were divorced, and my mother couldn't stop it. My kids are in the same situation, because of me, and I know no matter what I can't fix it. And I wonder everyday. . .will they follow in my footsteps?

  • anneonymousone Mar 26, 2009

    Kimmarienc, congratulations on getting out alive. I did, too.

    Keep letting people know what it's like, because the popular culture sets us up to be disbelieved.

  • genie2u Mar 26, 2009

    I agree, there are far too many loop holes when charging an offender. The sentences need to be tougher. I worked in DV for several years. Another problem I see as well though are people (and attorney's) misusing the domestic violence protective order, they see it as a quick way to get possession of the house, kids. Problem is that makes Judges and DA's I think not take cases as seriously. So while I totally agree we need stiffer penalties, we also need to hold accusers and attorneys accountable when they are using DV court to jump start what is truly a family law case. It is only hurting the cause. 99 women & 32 men were killed, & no it is not based on hunches. If the parties were involved past or present it is DV, it can be other family members too, like brother & sister. There has to be a relationship or family tie fo some sort. 131 is a problem. that is well over 1 dead per county.

  • mocena Mar 26, 2009

    "Judges get so many RO's that are NOT nothing more than scorn women who are determined to cause as much pain as possible to the Ex boyfriend,etc.Talk with your nearest LEO or DA.So those "many" cause the real victims to not taken seriously either.Shame on women who are so scorn and can't accept being jilted one way or the other!"

    Yeah, except these 131 DIED. Did they do that to scorn their boyfriends?

  • dcshadows Mar 26, 2009

    I sure am glad we keep taking GOD out of our families and workplaces (life in general). We don't need instruction on how families are supposed to grow and love each other. Who needs that nonsense. We are doing perfectly fine on our own... See Story!

  • girlwonders Mar 26, 2009

    purplepat, you can see the numbers on the report that is linked.

  • purplepat777 Mar 26, 2009

    I'd like to see the numbers by gender. How many of the dead are female and how many are male?

  • girlwonders Mar 26, 2009

    Domestic violence isn't only women and kids getting hurt, and RO don't get issued for scorned women. You have to have a documented case of abuse before a judge will issue, be it verbal threats, physical abuse, vandalism, stalking, etc. They don't just issue RO to everyone who asks. And any LEO who doesn't take Domestic Violence seriously, doesn't need to be in law enforcement. That is pretty simple. In my personal experience, and I have lots, the police officers on the scene said they knew it was gonna happen, but didn't have the power to stop it. Laws that protect the "alleged" offender often cripple the ability of law enforcement to protect the victims.