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Domestic Violence numbers increasing at an alarming rate in RI

January 4, 2011

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini The Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, located at 61 Main Street, offers 24-hour service to victims of domestic violence around Rhode Island.

WAKEFIELD – With the economy troubling many families, the Rhode Island Domestic Violence Resource Center has seen an increase in both the number of victims calling for help and in the number of homicides, making 2010 one of the deadliest years ever for domestic violence in this state.

“Not only has there been an increase in the number of homicides, but we've also seen an increase in the number of victims calling for help,” Deborah DeBarre, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence said. “It's hard to pinpoint one cause, but often it's related to a downturn in the economy because there's stress in the family. Stress will increase violence.”

There have been 13 homicides due to domestic violence this year, the most the Coalition has seen since it started keeping track in 1980. Last year, there were 11 deaths due to domestic violence.

“It's really concerning that we've seen such an increase,” Kristin Lyons, the executive director of the Women's Center of Rhode Island, which also provides services to domestic violence victims, said.

The increase in homicides comes on the heels of a pair of deaths over Christmas weekend that police believed to be the result of domestic violence.

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