Domestic Violence Deaths In Colorado Up Slightly From Last Year

Illinois Budget Domestic Violence
Sophia Tareen / AP
Advocates for victims of domestic abuse protest outside of state offices in downtown Chicago in 2015.

Last year, 43 people died in Colorado because of domestic violence. That's up slightly from 2017, when 40 people died.

The new figures come from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office in its annual domestic violence report.

In 2018, of the people who were killed, 26 were the primary victim, two were children, 4 were other adults, and 11 were the suspected primary perpetrator.

The most common group affected was women — 47 percent — who were killed by a current or former male partner. Children were involved about 30 percent of the time. The most common cause of death in the events was by gun — 63 percent of people.

In the last five years in Colorado, the highest number of deaths by domestic violence was in 2016 — which saw 58 deaths. The five-year average is 43 people per year.

Attorney General Phil Weiser said he wants to make sure police departments are properly trained for these sensitive cases.

“It means that when police officers show up in a situation, they are able to know how to talk to victims of domestic violence, know what the options are, be able to collect evidence, and be able to make it more likely that victims will protect themselves and create the record they may need later,” Weiser said.

Weiser said he wants victims to be able to get a protective order — often referred to as a restraining order — when they need it and that is easier when police reports have been filed.

Weiser said he also wants people who abuse to be rehabilitated to lower the chance that they will re-offend. The report does detail some cases where a person was found guilty in a domestic violence situation, went to prison and then was released, only to end up killing a family member.

“That’s something that we look at and think 'The system didn’t work here (so) how do we find ways to make sure we don’t miss opportunities to get people on a better track?'” Weiser said.