Domestic violence homicides in Oklahoma among nation’s highest

Thursday, 15 February 2024 13:41

Domestic violence homicides in Oklahoma among nation’s highest Featured

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Annual recommendations released by fatality review board

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 15, 2024) – Domestic violence homicides in Oklahoma decreased slightly in 2022, but the number of incidents remain among the highest in the nation, according to the annual report just released by the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.

Domestic homicide numbers for the past four years are substantially higher than numbers prior to 2019. 2022 marked the fourth consecutive year where the board identified more than 100 victims killed because of domestic violence. The report shows that Oklahoma averaged 114 domestic homicide victims between 2019 and 2022, compared to 90 between 2011 and 2018.

The total number of domestic homicide victims in Oklahoma during 2022 was 105, down from 118 in 2021. Oklahoma has consistently been ranked in the top 10 states of women murdered by men in single-victim/single-offender incidents since 1996. The most recent state rankings placed Oklahoma as second in the nation for women killed by men.

“Although we saw fewer instances of domestic violence homicides in 2022, this horrific crime is tragically rampant in Oklahoma,” said Attorney General Gentner Drummond, whose office houses the board. “I appreciate the difficult work the board completed and the recommendations they have developed to help reduce domestic violence-related deaths. Oklahoma can and must do better.”

Domestic violence homicides bar graph

Each year the board makes recommendations to the state Legislature to improve domestic violence prevention and protection systems in Oklahoma. One of this year’s recommendations is to increase funding that is provided to certified domestic violence and sexual assault service providers in Oklahoma in the wake of high domestic violence crime rates and declining federal funding for victim services grants.

According to the report, additional funding is needed to ensure the provision of core victim services throughout the state. Increased funding would also help bolster and expand victim advocacy and shelter operations offered by existing providers.

The board also asked the Legislature to strengthen several areas of state law to better equip prosecutors to hold domestic abusers accountable in court.

“This will help enhance the safety of victims, their families and the community at large,” the report states.

Recommended changes include broadening the Domestic Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon charge to include weapons other than firearms, including domestic violence offenses as 85-percent crimes, increasing the punishment time for first-time Domestic Assault and Battery by Strangulation, and classifying several domestic assault and battery offenses as violent crimes. These changes would eliminate discrepancies in the law between domestic abuse and non-domestic crimes.

“Overall, the goal should be to not have a statutory landscape where there are less consequences for domestic abuse, particularly intimate partner abuse, than if the same crime is committed against a stranger,” the report notes.

The full report is available here.

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