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New study ranks TN and VA top 5 in nation for rate of women killed by men

By Laura Halm
Published On: Sep 22 2012 03:37:30 PM CDT
Domestic violence is still a problem in the Tri-Cities
BRISTOL, Tenn. and Va. -

A startling new report by the Violence Policy Center ranks Tennessee #3 and Virginia #5 in the nation when it comes to the rate of women killed by men. Even scarier, nationwide about 65% of these women were married to or familiar with their killer. News 5 checked with local police to see how the Tri-Cities compares.

Life is a lot more peaceful for Jacquilynn now that she's gotten help from an organization called Abuse Alternatives, "I've been out of the house for like a month and a half and I don't even know where I would be now if I had stayed."

Jacquilynn says she's lucky because her abuser didn't kill her. In both Tennessee and Virginia, nearly two women out of 100,000 are killed by a man, according to the Violence Policy Center. But in the Tri-Cities our rates are much lower and Bristol Virginia Police say our numbers are much lower because we're not a metropolitan area.

But that doesn't mean domestic violence isn't a problem. News 5 checked with Abuse Alternatives and learned statistically problems can become deadly when a victim tries to leave her abuser. "They [the abuser] will resort to other means of trying to bring that person back in their control and the ultimate control is to take their life," said Kathy Johnson with Abuse Alternatives.

News 5 learned in the last year, the number of women needing shelter has gone up by about 47% and those women are spending more nights as well.

But police say domestic violence is an under-reported crime. Officer Doug Cooper with the Bristol Virginia Police Department works primarily domestic violence related crimes and says an Emergency Protective Order has saved the lives of so many victims. "They're [The Emergency Protective Order] is telling that young man, look you need to stay out, stay away for 72-hours or two weeks," said Officer Cooper.

It's behind closed doors that can be the most dangerous. "That's the people you want to trust and I think that you can lean on, believe in, and they end up being the people that are the most dangerous to you," added Jacquilynn.

News 5 did some more digging and learned both Bristol Virginia and Tennessee have had zero domestic violence-related murders in the last two to five years. In Sullivan County, there were two domestic violence murders in 2011. In Washington County, Virginia there was one domestic related murder in 2010.