DENVER (KDVR) — A report said nearly 100 people were killed in domestic violence-related incidents in 2021, which is the highest number of deaths since the report board was created in 2017.

The Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board‘s report said 45 people were killed by their partners and 32 people killed were violators. Another 14 people killed were considered collateral victims with four of them being children.

Consistent with domestic violence cases, 88% of the victims killed were female and 90% of the suspects killed were male. Guns were the main weapon used and many cases happened disproportionately in rural communities, the report said.

“We must continue to act decisively to reduce the number of people killed due to domestic violence,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, who chairs the board said. “We can do so by continuing to limit domestic violence perpetrators’ access to firearms, increasing judicial training, and offering added resources for advocates and law enforcement. We are committed to working collaboratively with our partners to prevent domestic violence fatalities and the related trauma that tragically impacts family members, friends, and our communities.”  

The report determined that about half of the couples involved in the domestic violence incidents were currently or formerly dating and the other half were married or previously married.

Of the cases in which the suspect died, 72% were by suicide, and in 78% of cases, another person was killed in the incident.

What is the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board?

The Colorado General Assembly created the board in 2017 to collect and examine data on deadly domestic violence cases to determine how to prevent them. The board submits recommendations to the legislature, which has proven successful in past years.

Recommendations from the 2021 report include:

  • Expand domestic violence training opportunities for judicial officers
  • Invest in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that improve the response to domestic violence statewide
  • Invest in strategies that ensure firearm relinquishment that can improve victim, officer and public safety

Resources for domestic violence victims

There are several national, state and local resources for people involved in violent relationships. Here are some of them:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
Colorado Domestic Violence Program
Violence Free Colorado
Safehouse Denver

The state-funded program was created to partner with local, community-based domestic violence advocacy programs to help victims.

Statement from Majority Leader Monica Duran

Majority Leader Monica Duran, a domestic violence survivor herself, has spent her career at the Capitol advocating for survivors’ rights and services. She provided this statement on the latest report:

The annual report from the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board has confirmed one of my worst fears – domestic violence deaths surged in 2021 and are now at an all-time high in Colorado.

This is frightening, and I am keeping those who have lost a friend or loved one to domestic violence very close to my heart. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes and communities. For a time in my life, I was not safe in my own home. I know the feeling of displacement and the struggle of navigating your next move to keep you and your children safe.

Today, and every day, I am deeply committed to ensuring Colorado’s crime victims and survivors receive the support and services they deserve. While the rise of domestic violence deaths is troubling and we have a lot to work to do, we have been able to secure multi-year funding that will enhance services for victims of crime. This year, we will make improving public safety a top priority and continue our focus on providing the services that survivors need.

Duran spearheaded a crime victims services bill last year that invested $48 million toward providing critical resources, programs and support to victims of crime, including domestic violence.