And sometimes – far too frequently – these domestic violence cases become homicide cases. Here’s another statistic – more than 1,000 women are murdered by a husband or boyfriend in the United States each year. Put another way, 30 percent of all of women killed in this country are killed by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence affects every community, across every ethnic group and socioeconomic class. It is a public health crisis – and one that is still severely under-reported. In New York, even as the citywide murder rate plunges to historic lows, domestic violence assaults and murders have not followed suit. As one observer put it, what good is living in the safest big city in the world if you are not safe in your own home?
What we see in so many cases is that domestic violence victims like Sylvie try to leave abusive relationships, but, for one reason or another, cannot. Abusers maintain a physical, emotional, and oftentimes financial hold over their victims, from which escape can seem impossible.
So what can we do to better help these victims? I believe that easily accessible resources that provide support and the means to leave abusive relationships are essential to combating domestic violence. When I first took office as the Manhattan DA four years ago, one of my top priorities was to open a Family Justice Center. After a great deal of support from the Mayor’s office and advocacy groups across the city, I am excited to announce that the center will open next month.