In October, Violence Free Minnesota provided an overview of Minnesota’s 26 known victims of intimate partner homicide in 2021, alongside policy recommendations to end relationship abuse. The report, 2021 Homicide Report: Relationship Abuse in Minnesota, is the only document of its kind in Minnesota.
Violence Free Minnesota is a statewide coalition of over 90 programs working to address relationship abuse. Their report states that of the 26 known victims, 20 women were killed by a current or former intimate partner. Six family members and bystanders are included as they were murdered in domestic violence related situations. Of those, two were children under the age of 15, killed alongside their mother, who was also two-months pregnant at the time. At least 28 minor children are now left without a parent due to intimate partner violence.
Eleven of the 26 victims — 55 percent — died by gun shot wound. Six victims died by stab wound. Sixty percent of perpetrators had a documented history of violence. Four key risk factors listed in the report include: the victim’s attempts to leave the abuser; previous threats to kill the victim; abuser’s access to firearms; and abuser’s history of violence.
The report includes messages from victims’ families about their lives and impact. “The words of loved ones offer a glimpse into who each person was in life. They were loving mothers, beautiful souls, the life of the party, free spirits, and so much more. We remember every victim for the love and joy they spread throughout their lives,” the report states.
So far in 2022, at least 17 people have been killed due to intimate partner violence in Minnesota.
Governor Tim Walz has declared October Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“To meet the demands of this moment, our elected officials must invest in community-based advocacy services for victim survivors of domestic and sexual violence,” Lopez stated.
A copy of the full report can be found at www.vfmn.org.