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NC Domestic Violence Deaths Rise In 2012

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(Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/Getty Images)

(Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/CBS Charlotte) — In the United States, one in four women will fall victim to domestic violence.

Domestic violence murders increased in North Carolina in 2012, increasing 15 percent to 122, North Carolina’s attorney general said earlier this week.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said 106 murders were attributed to domestic violence in 2011. Of the victims in 2012, 78 were women and 44 were men. Of the killers, 104 were men and 18 were women.

“I have great concern about this increase,” Cooper said in a news release. “It’s clear that North Carolina must do more to stop domestic abuse before it turns deadly.”

Wake County, the state’s second-most populous county, reported 11 domestic violence murders, the most in the state. Mecklenburg County, the state’s most populous, was second with eight, followed by Guilford County, the third most populous county, with six.

Robeson County has less than a third of Guilford’s population and had five domestic violence murders. Other counties that reported more domestic violence homicides than expected for their population include Catawba, Harnett, Henderson, and Scotland counties, which had four each.

Beth Froehling, executive director of the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the information about the murders can help inform the development of policy and legislation to address the problem. The increase underscores the need for more resources for domestic violence victims, better enforcement of laws against abusers, and increased education and awareness, Cooper said.

Law enforcement agencies must report domestic violence-related murders yearly to the State Bureau of Investigation.

In some cases, authorities have failed to recognize when a person is in imminent danger, which has contributed to domestic violence related deaths.

Locally, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department implemented a policy that they hope will reduce the number of domestic violence related homicides. The initiative, which was first launched in Maryland, includes a form known as a domestic violence lethality assessment screen. CMPD officers have been using this form for several months now — when they respond to a domestic violence call. The form helps officers assess the situation, making it easier for them to decide if there is an immediate need for them to intervene.

Additionally, other measures have been taken in Charlotte to ensure that victims of domestic violence are safe. The Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter, located on West Boulevard, opened in December 2012, and can house 80 women and children.

Do you know the warning signs of domestic violence?

Does a friend, family member, or coworker:

- Have unexplained bruises or scratches on her? Or, does she make up excuses that she’s clumsy, etc? This is a tell-tale sign of domestic violence.

- Seem sad often, and has trouble concentrating? They may be experiencing domestic violence at home.

- Become increasingly isolated from friends and family? This could be a sign of domestic violence, as their partner may be trying to control who they talk to.

- Have a partner that is extremely jealous? Or does their partner follow them places, and constantly keep tabs on them? This can be an early warning sign that aggressive domestic violence will follow.

- Have a partner that has anger issues and constantly punches walls and/or breaks things? Uncontrollable anger is another sign that aggressive domestic violence is imminent.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence in Mecklenburg County, click here to get help.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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