Domestic abuse homicide under unfortunate spotlight, expert says
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — After the death of a woman amid an apartment shooting Monday morning in Salt Lake City, experts say cases of domestic abuse homicide are unfortunately in the spotlight – and far too common.
Jenn Oxborrow with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition says domestic abuse homicides can happen quite a bit, with three cases in Utah just in the last week.
Oxborrow said all of the fatalities were preventable.
“These are all related to firearms, in situations where the person should be restricted,” Oxborrow told Dave and Dujanovic Monday morning.
Domestic abuse homicide in Utah
Oxborrow said the experience can be traumatic and painful for several involved, including the officers responding to the situation and children who may be witnessing the event.
“We have four people who died, we’ve had two different officer-involved shootings,” she said. “We’ve had two children witness their mother and her intimate partner being shot by their father. Both of those children were under the age of 10.”
Oxborrow says that, in her opinion, domestic violence calls are the most violent. It also puts responding officers at risk, which is what caused the injury of an officer Monday morning when he was shot in the line of duty.
“We have to do something about this,” Oxborrow said. “We have to start a conversation about how to be safer with these really-high risk situations.”
Restricting firearms access is key, Oxborrow says
Oxborrow said the shooter in Monday’s domestic violence abuse case should have been restricted from having a firearm.
When someone is restricted, it is because it has been proven to “a high threshold,” according to Oxborrow, that the victim has been extensively stalked, harassed, treated violently or has witnessed an ongoing pattern of abuse. The victim will report that someone is at high risk of hurting themselves or others, putting them under this protective order.
This protective order will restrict them from having a firearm.
Oxborrow said it’s important to uphold these protective orders and to get help at first sign that someone is in crisis. Often, signs will be ignored if the person at risk is suicidal — onlookers will think they would only hurt themselves.
However, these suicidal factors can be enough that the person at risk will extend the risk to family members if they are convinced they will lose everything anyway.
How to get help
Oxborrow said it’s extremely important to reach out and get these protective orders, because the access to guns when in a crisis is extremely dangerous.
“We need to do more to coordinate our efforts to make sure that when a high-risk person is a subject of an order of protection where there’s domestic violence, that we’re getting lethal means away and just temporarily interrupting that really high point of tension and risk when these tragedies happen,” Oxborrow said.
Just interrupting that tension for a couple days could avoid tragedy, Oxborrow said.
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:
- Utah Domestic Violence Coalition: Utah’s confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
- YWCA Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
- Utah’s statewide child abuse and neglect hotline: 1-855-323-DCFS (3237)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
More to the story
Listen to the full interview from the Dave and Dujanovic show from Monday morning:
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