Report shows family violence fatalities increased in December

2013 ended tragically. Suzanne Parsons was stabbed to death Monday afternoon at a RE/MAX real estate office on Heritage Trace Parkway near Alliance Town Center.  On Tuesday, Parsons’ ex-husband John St. Angelo was arrested after a five-hour standoff with police. St. Angelo is accused of fatally stabbing his ex-wife.  (Read the January 1st Star Telegram report.)

According to a 2012 report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence:
  • 114 women were killed in by intimate partners in Texas in 2012
  • 14 homicides occurred during December, the most of any month
  • Six murders occurred from December 28th – 31st
  • 20 of the 114 homicides occurred on or within two days of national U.S. holidays such as Christmas or New Year’s

While the report offers no conclusive data linking the holidays to an increase in domestic violence, SafeHaven CEO and current Texas Council on Family Violence Chair, Mary Lee Hafley says the SafeHaven staff always plans on an influx of clients seeking shelter during the holidays.

“Two of the times we see spikes in women seeking shelter from their abusers are during the summer months and winter holidays. Women often plan to leave abusive relationships during summer break when they feel it is less disruptive for their kids,” said Hafley. “The increase we see during the holiday months tends to be driven more by the additional stress people feel during the holidays, which can lead batterers to increase emotional and physical abuse.”

Hafley hopes anyone in an abusive situation hears this crucial message.

“Don’t wait. The time to contact someone for help is now. Right now. Almost one-third of female homicide victims reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse call our hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-877-701-SAFE. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.  We will help you develop a plan to get you and your children to a safe place.”

If you are in immediate danger call 911.