2019 was deadliest year in a decade for domestic deaths

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DENVER (KDVR) — Domestic violence rose last year. It was more widespread geographically, more pronounced in populous areas and had more internal types of violence associated with it.

Last year saw more instances of domestic violence fatalities than any time since the Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council’s data records began in 2008, and by a large margin.

The state charted 70 instances of deaths arising from domestic violence in 2019, well above the 2008-2019 average of 43 fatalities per year.

The spike in domestic crime fatalities did not come from any single statistic. There were simply more instances of domestic abuse statewide and particularly in the City and County of Denver.

In a typical year, more domestic violence deaths happen in Denver metro counties than in the rest of the state. Denver does not always experience the greatest amount of deaths. That number shifts between El Paso, Jefferson, Adams and Arapahoe counties.

Last year, however, Denver itself saw a pronounced spike in domestic violence deaths. It experienced 15 such deaths, which is nine more than average for Denver and three times as many as any other county.

They also happened in more counties than usual. Colorado had 21 counties in which domestic fatalities occurred in 2019, higher than the 2008-2019 average of 15 counties per year.

No particular one kind of violent death outweighs the others, either.

The DDVCC tracks who kills whom in domestic violence incidents. 2019 saw more widespread categories than any year prior. More men died by suicide, self-defense and law enforcement intervention than any years prior.

DDVCC reports from 2019 and 2018 found common red flags in the relationships which ended in these violent deaths.

Both years found in 80%-90% of the relationships the perpetrator experienced feelings of abandonment, betrayal or loss of perceived control. In 80% of both years’ cases, the perpetrator also had a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse.

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