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Report: significant increase in Texas domestic violence cases

Statistics show a significant increase in domestic violence incidents in Texas since 2009. A report on deaths from family violence showed a total of 142 such fatalities in 2010 throughout the state, which is up 28 percent from the year before.

The largest number of these deaths occurred in big metropolitan areas such as Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant Counties, with a lesser number of domestic violence victims reported in Travis County.

In Travis County, however, domestic violence was involved in 29 percent of all homicides in 2010 and this year to date. Only six homicides in 2009 were suspected to have resulted from domestic violence, compared to 13 homicides last year and ten so far this year. Homicides are classified as involving domestic violence when a former spouse, a family member, a "significant other," or a roommate is considered a suspect.

An Austin nonprofit organization that provides assistance to domestic violence victims says that it has received over 13,000 hotline phone calls in 2011, approximately 31 percent more than the calls received over the same period two years ago.

Some experts say that the poor state of the economy may be contributing to the spike in domestic abuse, as economic stress heightens the tension in already poor relationships. Others speculate that the increase in domestic violence statistics may be due, in part, to improved reporting and greater awareness of the problem. Perhaps the increase involves both factors.

A number of domestic violence cases in Texas have involved persons who have killed their spouses or significant others and then took their own life. In some instances, women have been murdered in domestic disputes when they gave some indication of wanting to leave their spouse or boyfriend.

Statistics like these are never comforting, but domestic violence is a reality in Texas.

Source: Austin-American Statesman, "Domestic violence incidents increased since 2009, officials say," Claudia Grisales, November 26, 2011.

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