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Nevada tops list of domestic violence homicides

A recent study placed Nevada first on a national ranking of the number of women killed by men in domestic violence incidents. The study, which was conducted using 2009 crime data provided by the FBI, showed that 2.7 women were killed by men per every 100,000 Nevada.

The research was conducted by the Violence Policy Center, a non-profit organization that gathers, analyzes and shares information about domestic violence in the U.S. The study, which was released in anticipation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, found that the national homicide rate of women killed by men in single-victim, single-offender incidents in 2009 was 1.25 homicides per 100,000 people.

Clearly, Nevada's rate of 2.7 was significantly greater than the national average. The second-highest rate was 2.64 in Alabama. Both of the top two were significantly higher than the third, which was 1.99 in Louisiana.

According to Marlene Richter of The Shade Tree shelter in Las Vegas, there are likely several reasons unique to Nevada that caused the state's high domestic violence homicide rate. For example, Nevada residents are dealing with great economic stress due to a high unemployment rate and troubled housing market. In addition, she said, a transient population and a lack of community support and resources for victims of domestic abuse likely also contributed.

William Sousa, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nevada, agrees that there are unique factors, such as the large tourist population in Las Vegas and Reno, which contributed to Nevada's high rate.

Whatever the reasons, even one victim of domestic violence homicide is one too many. Hopefully, the state is able to find ways to lower this rate.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Nev. tops on list of women killed in home violence," Sept. 21, 2011

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