Tarrant County Working on Solutions After Reported Uptick in Domestic Homicides

Recently released data in Tarrant County show a sharp increase in the number of domestic violence related homicides. There were six in 2015. Last year, there were 17 domestic abuse victims killed by their abusers.

"Because that number is so high is what caused us to take rapid action," explained Kathryn Jacob, president and CEO of SafeHaven, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. "When victims are threatened by their partner, for them it's not an empty threat. For them, more often than not, that threat becomes a reality."

Jacob says every death from domestic violence gets a complete self-review from domestic violence service groups and law enforcement.

"Did that victim come to the shelter?" Jacob says is one of the questions asked. "If she did, what didn't we do that we should have done? If she didn't, why didn't she?"

They are tough questions trying to better help the next victim.

"It's a very big problem," said Detective Hjalmar Olmo, one of 12 Fort Worth police detectives who works exclusively on domestic violence cases. "We get five to 10 cases per day, per detective. You can do the math. That's a lot of cases a week."

"I had to get out," said Adele, a domestic violence survivor. "I couldn't take it anymore."

Adele moved to Tarrant County from her native South Africa. She said the abuse started shortly after moving to Texas. She says ending up in the hospital, beaten and pregnant, was the last straw.

"It is almost as though your abuser walks around with your brain in his pocket," Adele explained. "It's supposed to be the person that loves you, cherishes you, and holds you in high esteem, but that's the same person that can inflict the most harm on you."

Adele now volunteers on the board of SafeHaven, the place that helped her break the cycle of violence.

If you or someone you know needs help. The SafeHaven Domestic Violence Hotline is 877-701-SAFE.

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