Advocates for domestic violence services want better public awareness and more-effective interventions to reduce Connecticut's average of 14 fatalities a year.
The annual report of the state's Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee released Tuesday details 188 homicides among intimate partners between 2000 and 2012. A representative of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence said the report ends at 2012 because all the cases compiled had been adjudicated and cases closed by the State Police.
There already have been 10 in 2014, including the July 6 death of Kiromy Fontanez, 24, of Bridgeport, who was allegedly shot and killed in her Pearl Street home by her former boyfriend, Jose Santiago, 35.
"It's not a poor people's problem," said Cynthia Price, an emergency room physician at Hartford Hospital. "It's not a rich people's problem. It is everybody's problem. Being in an abusive relationship really takes a physical and mental toll on people."
There are 20,000 domestic violence incidents each year that result in at least one arrest, the report said. That accounts for one-third of the state's criminal case flow in state Superior Court.
Michael P. Lawlor, undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning in the state Office of Policy and Management, said domestic violence is the second-leading cause of murder in the state, after urban youths shooting each other.
"Like that problem, these domestic homicides are preventable," Lawlor said. "We can identify the most at-risk individuals. We can take action before the tragedy takes place, and we have an obligation to make sure that everyone in the criminal justice community knows the warning signs and knows what to do when they see them."
Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said in October a special effort will be made to reach out to Spanish-speaking residents.
"It is hugely important and relevant because it helps us understand how to do better," Jarmoc said during a morning news conference in the state Capitol complex.
Statewide, 18 regional domestic violence centers serve about 60,000 people a year, mostly women. Eighty-six percent of those killed were women.
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