Introduction From the Executive Director
This is the sixth Annual New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard which contains data from 2007 through 2012. After six years of collecting data from a broad range of agencies, many trends confirm what providers are seeing in the field. We also continue to add information each year as more and more agencies include screening for domestic violence into their regular practice.
Once again, we are finding that, overall, numbers have increased in 2012, such as intimate partner assaults, strangulation charges, local hotline calls and reports indicating danger due to domestic violence when applying for public assistance. However, a variety of factors typically causes these numbers to rise, only one of which may be an increase in the amount of domestic violence actually taking place. Often, enhanced evidence collection, greater collaboration and coordination, even improved community awareness and local outreach efforts can all cause the numbers to go up due to stronger domestic violence response and reporting, as well as greater need for victim services and criminal justice intervention. Still, that is not to say that actual domestic violence has not increased, only that there are many elements to consider when measuring and analyzing trends. For example, you will notice the significant decrease in intimate partner homicides, down 17% from 2011. While this brings intimate partner homicides back to 2010 levels, use of firearms in intimate partner homicides has increased by 15% since 2011. As always, it is essential that we utilize this statewide data to inform our response efforts about what we know, and where we still must focus our resources and efforts.
In 2011, we analyzed the number of strangulation charges separately, to acknowledge the importance of that new law, and examine how broadly it was being used. Therefore, this year we were able to collect and compare the two full years of strangulation data that revealed an 11% increase in the strangulation offenses charged in arrests and arraignments. We acknowledge that this increase could be due to several factors, only one of which is an increase in the amount of actual strangulation taking place. Increased awareness of the law over the past year has likely led to increased reporting of strangulation by victims and enhanced charging of Strangulation, at both the misdemeanor and felony levels, by law enforcement.
The source agency for data referenced in each statement is indicated at the end of the sentence: published source material is footnoted. Statistics cited represent data for the 2012 calendar year and are statewide, unless otherwise indicated. The 2007 Dashboard offered a full explanation of each system from which this data was taken, including an explanation of terminology. Since then, we have only explained data points that are new that year.
Thank you for reviewing the sixth Annual Dashboard: it reflects a commitment across agencies to screen for domestic violence, and share their information with all of you. OPDV staff work diligently to compile and present it in a way we hope will be of use. We encourage you to read it together with the 2012 NYS Domestic Violence Annual Report, which contains a broader summary of the work of our state agencies, as well as a few other community stakeholder organizations. Data is only part of the story, but it is an important part.
Acting Executive Director