COLUMBUS — Deaths linked to domestic violence continue to rise in Ohio, according to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network's sixth-annual report about incidents.
Between June 1, 2020 and June 30 of this year, records show a 20% increase in domestic violence fatalities, a 62% increase from two years ago.
Micaela Deming, policy director and staff attorney for the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN), said the 131 deaths included the highest yearly number of children since they began counting.
"We had 15 young people killed in the last year, all related to domestic violence," Deming said. "Some of those stories are even more heart-rending than you might think. That was really startling."
In 16 cases, she added, children were at the scene of a death. The report was released Tuesday to coincide with ODVN's Domestic Violence Awareness Month event at the Capitol. Advocates are honoring eight lawmakers who helped increase funding for domestic violence prevention and response in the Ohio's two-year budget.
The report found 30 cases involved multiple fatalities, and Deming noted in at least 86% of incidents, a gun was used.
"And that excludes shootings by law enforcement," Deming said. "Six perpetrators were killed by law enforcement. So, if you add those up, we're getting really high numbers of guns being used in these fatalities."
Deming added it is notable in at least six cases, the perpetrator had pending criminal charges, including two with no-contact orders, two with outstanding warrants, and two with upcoming court dates.
"This statewide data helps us hone in and say, 'This is an incredibly high-level time of danger for these victims,'" Deming said. "And it should really give us a charge to improve bail reform measures, so that we can address these acute safety needs for domestic violence cases."