Yesterday, June 17, 2014, the Maine Department of Public Safety released its annual Crime Report. This year’s report reveals a slight decrease in the number of domestic violence assaults reported in 2013; there were 5,487 assaults reported last year, versus 5,593 in 2012.
This is a shift from the previous two years, when reported domestic violence assaults increased. The Department of Public Safety attributes the decrease to “new legislation and more coordination between law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and domestic violence advocates.”
MCEDV also recognizes the impact of these recent collaborative efforts on the decrease in numbers, noting the commitment of partners throughout Maine to implementing new practices, such as high-risk response teams and risk assessment tools that strengthen systems’ responses to violence. “I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a trend,” said Julia Colpitts, Executive Director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. “The system improvements now in place have the potential to keep victims safer and hold perpetrators accountable.”
MCEDV also notes the role that victim service advocates play in helping victims come forward to report their assaults. According to Colpitts, “The safety planning process is key. Feeling supported and knowing the options that are available can make a big difference when a victim is deciding whether or not to reach out to law enforcement.”
The 2013 Crime Report provides affirmation for the direction that Maine has taken to address domestic violence, but the work is far from over. Moving forward, MCEDV is committed to continued collaboration with our partners to find new ways of ensuring victim safety and offender accountability in all sectors of our communities.