Columbus — More than 100 people died as a result of domestic violence in Ohio over the past year, according to a study released by an advocacy group Oct. 4.
A total of 90 adults and 11 children were included in a snapshot of incidents reviewed by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network.
“We are absolutely certain there are cases we did not catch,” Jo Simonsen, a director at the group, told an audience at the Statehouse.
She added later, “It’s devastating. It’s numbing… Report after report, the viciousness, the vindictiveness and the cruelty that it takes to perform some of these acts… But it’s important to try to understand that.”
Simonsen spoke during a program as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a national designation aimed drawing attention to domestic violence and helping victims, most often women, to seek out assistance from agencies that provide protection and legal and other resources.
Advocates also urged action on legislation at the Statehouse to further protect and assist domestic violence victims.
“How can we harness this strength and the courage of the victims and of the survivors and of the first responders and of our advocates so that we can demand that there are more interventions, so that children that are witnessing this are better protected, that victims are served?” Simonsen asked. “We need courts to be holding batterers accountable well before it reaches this extreme.”
For the study, the Network, with assistance from 70-plus local domestic violence programs, sought news accounts of incidents that occurred in Ohio between July 1, 2015, and June 30 of this year. Simonsen said 69 of those cases were included in the final count.
Among the results:
• A total of 101 people died in the incidents, including victims, perpetrators and other people who happened to be at the scene at the time.
• Forty-three of the cases involved a single fatality, while 26 involved multiple deaths involving up to four people.
• Nearly three-fourths of the fatalities involved firearms; 80 people were shot, not including perpetrators who were shot by officers.
• Two officers who were responding to incidents were killed by perpetrators, and two others were shot but survived. Eights suspected attackers were killed by officers.
• In one-fourth of the incidents, children were at the scenes.
And there were warning signs in advance.
“Many of the cases had previous homicidal overtures in the violence by the perpetrator,” Simonsen said. “There were previous strangulations, house fires, stabbings, running victims off the road and weapons pointed to their head, among others.”
Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.