Just a glance at the front page of the Domestic Violence Crime Watch website reveals just how deadly domestic violence can be. Victims of the crimes documented on the website include both men and women, but by far, the majority of domestic violence related homicide victims are women. Also documented are the deaths of children, family members, friends, co-workers, and the new partners of those who have left an abusive relationship. Throughout the pages of the site you can also see a disheartening number of of law enforcement officers and even bystanders who have also lost their lives to these crimes. As horrifying as the reality Domestic Violence Crime Watch reveals is, the crimes documented on the website are just the tip of the iceberg.
According to a study released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 24 people per minute, on average, are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. This translates to more than 12 million women and men each year.
Domestic Violence Crime Watch was founded by Christine Armstrong, an advocate who launched the website last year while working full-time as Development & Communications Director of her local domestic violence program. She says that the news gathered for her website is, indeed, just the tip of the iceberg. “Every day I see stories of murder attempts, aggravated assaults, car chases, car crashes, standoffs, officers injured responding to calls, and more. It would be overwhelming to both the reader, and me, to attempt to document them all.”
The website has become so popular with national, state, and local advocates, law enforcement officers and trainers, domestic violence survivors, and many families of domestic violence homicide victims, that Armstrong recently left her position of nearly seven years in order to operate the website full-time. While she says she has long had an interest in raising awareness of the many deaths caused by domestic violence crime, it wasn’t until her own family lost a loved one in 2009, her sister’s 19 year-old son, Ryan, to a senseless crime, that she understood the profound loss these families suffer. This, she says, added urgency to her goal.
In addition to documenting domestic violence related crime, Armstrong spends some of her time writing about newsworthy events related to domestic violence that occur across the country. She also recently added sections to begin promoting conferences, trainings, and awareness activities and to highlight speakers and trainers who work with groups of professionals and the public.
She also plans to promote “Coordinated Community Response”, a process that encourages professionals across the disciplines that come into contact with domestic violence suspects and victims to work together to solve the problem. It’s important, Armstrong says, that criminal and civil justice systems, shelters, social service, health, or mental health care agencies, and other support systems work together. Many communities who have “Coordinated Community Response” programs in place have reported a reduction in domestic violence related homicides.
Once Armstrong gets these projects firmly into place, she plans to build a memorial section for the victims of domestic violence related homicide with sections of special interest including fallen law enforcement officers, teenage victims, domestic homicides that occur at the workplace, and missing persons and unsolved cases.
Her primary focus right now, she says, is getting her sponsor base for the website in place. While she says it isn’t prohibitively expensive to run Domestic Violence Crime Watch, there are some necessary operating expenses to cover and that until she does get those covered, her available time to spend writing and adding to the website will be somewhat limited. You can visit Domestic Violence Crime Watch at http://www.dvcrimewatch.com. For more information about Domestic Violence Crime Watch or to request sponsorship information, contact Christine Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Domestic Violence Crime Watch is dedicated to raising awareness of domestic violence crime and homicide in the United States.