The issue: Number of domestic-violence deaths in Arizona

January 24, 2014
The Arizona Republic
Eugene Scott

What we're looking at
Phoenix Councilman Jim Waring said about 139 people were killed in domestic-violence situations in Arizona in 2012.

The comment
About "139 people were killed in Arizona last year in domestic-violence situations."

The forum
Waring's comment appeared in the Dec. 17 issue of the Phoenix Republic.

Analysis
Waring, who represents northeast Phoenix, was responding to the $498,000 the city spent on a gateway arch for the Melrose District in a central Phoenix neighborhood.

Waring had told a Republic reporter he was disappointed to hear at a council policy session that the city is spending $1.5 million on public-art projects while spending about $200,000 on domestic-violence initiatives.

"I was unhappy with the juxtaposition of those two things," he said, and then he cited the domestic-violence statistic.

A trainer with the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a Phoenix non-profit, presented information on domestic-violence-related deaths to the Phoenix City Council during a policy session on the city's domestic-violence road map on Oct. 8, 2013.

The coalition put together a list of domestic-violence deaths, which said there were 139 known domestic-violence-related deaths in Arizona in 2012.

"Those are informational," said Libby Bissa, director of Phoenix's Family Advocacy Center. "Those are governed by FBI standards. They have specific descriptions of what a particular crime is."

Bissa also serves as co-chair of Phoenix's Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, which the city re-established in 2013 after officials put it on hold in 2009 because of budget cuts.

"We review investigations and reports for domestic violence, and then we determine what kind of cases we're going to focus on for review," Bissa said.

The review team uses different standards in its assessment, so its numbers of domestic-violence deaths may differ from the coalition's numbers. However, the fatality review team had not published a report by press time that included 2012 numbers.

The review team plans to publish a report and present it to the Arizona Attorney General's Office by Jan. 31.

Bottom line: Waring's statement was accurate based on information from the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Sources
"Phoenix 'Melrose' arch creates identity, but cost questioned," Dec. 11, 2013, The Arizona Republic
Phoenix Human Services Department
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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