SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) Domestic violence continued to be a leading cause of Utah homicides in 2016. Most victims were women. Most perpetrators were men and the weapon most commonly used was a gun.
Those are just some of the conclusions of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition as they look through statistics from last year.
Since 2000 they say at least 42% of all homicides in Utah have been related to domestic violence. For 2016 it was closer to 30% which is hopefully a good sign.
The coalition keeps a running list of victims throughout the year. For 2016 the oldest victim was a 73 year old woman shot to death by her husband, the youngest was an 8 week old girl allegedly abused by her father.
The group will probably create some controversy when it comes to guns. They claim the majority of male perpetrators of domestic violence homicide in Utah used a firearm. They had a previous criminal domestic violence history and should have been restricted under federal law from gun ownership.
The crime is also hard to spot according to Executive Director Jenn Oxborrow. "People will frequently say there was no domestic violence history. We are so surprised," says Oxborrow. She continues "it's a really private situation and people go to great lengths to hide it sometimes because it's embarrassing."
There is a domestic violence hotline to call 24/7, 365 days a year. It gives you access to a victim advocate. The number is 800-897-LINK. 800-897-5465.
The final domestic violence victim of 2016 was 23 year old Katie Peralta. She was shot to death by her husband December 22 as she left her job in Research Park. She had told him she would file for divorce in the new year. He made sure she never got the chance. He then turned the gun and killed himself. They leave a 1 year old son with no parents.
The husband has been described as 'controlling', and that is one of the signs according to Oxborrow. She has other things to watch for. "Isolation, a lot of financial control. Changes in someone's behavior and restricting their access to family and friends can be very telling signs."
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