Story by: Sue Wood

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA — Domestic violence deaths in Santa Clara County fell by six from 2017 to 2018, according to the annual Domestic Violence Death Review Team’s Report released Tuesday by the District Attorney’s Office.

In 2018, there were seven domestic violence-related deaths, including four murder victims, a suicide victim and two perpetrators who committed suicide. Although the year before showed an annual increase by six, a historically downward trend is the sign law enforcement officials were seeking.

The county District Attorney’s team in keyed on one glaring statistic domestic violence deaths in the county this year.

The 35-page public report reads: “With such innovative approaches as the Family Justice Centers and our increasing use of gun restraining orders, we have gotten better at protecting survivors so that they do not join these annually-collated statistics.”

Still, the D.A.’s Office admits that more work needs to be done, with one of the recommendations in the report to stem the tide on imminent domestic violence attacks being an increase in using court orders to take away weapons “from dangerous people.”

In the summary section, the report outlines a hard fact to corral this community plague. The victims and their killers were diverse, ethnically and socioeconomically.

“We cannot stress enough that we see domestic violence in every neighborhood in this county. It is pervasive geographically, among the poor and the rich, and in immigrant and non-immigrant communities” the District Attorney warns.

The only common denominator in the statistics and the findings is that the cases virtually always involve men as the perpetrators. They’re often actively suicidal and most used a gun to kill their victims.

This year’s number of domestic violence-related deaths is less than the average occurring in Santa Clara County over the last 22 years. Since 1994, there have been an average of 11 domestic violence-related deaths every year, down from a previous average of 12 annually.

As a reminder, victims of domestic violence in need of resources are asked to contact the D.A.’s Victim Services UnitAsian Americans for Community InvolvementYWCA Silicon ValleyNext Door Solutions to Domestic ViolenceMAITRI or Community Solutions.

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