The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 29, 2014

Our View: Take action on domestic violence

Why it matters: Domestic violence continues at a pace that threatens public safety

A state report on domestic violence homicides released Tuesday once again offers a sobering reminder just how deeply damaging this crime is to communities and families across Minnesota.

The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women released its annual Femicide Report that detailed 37 people killed in the course of domestic violence last year, 24 of them women murdered by an intimate or former intimate partner.

The crime of violence had no boundaries and left few communities unscathed as 16 of the murders were committed in the Twin Cities and eight in Greater Minnesota, with two of those in the Mankato area.

Yesenia Gonzalez was murdered by a former boyfriend in a crime that occurred at about 10 a.m. last June in the neighborhood off of Riverfront Drive. Jacquelyn Johnson was murdered in St. Peter, not far from the Courthouse.

The coalition is behind some bipartisan changes in the legislation that will make it easier for victims to know when convicted perpetrators are being released from jail and their whereabouts.

Another would make it easier for police to arrest perpetrators who have left the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Safety is the first concern when it comes to those at risk of domestic violence. But such safety precautions are just the beginning.

The community must be involved in preventing domestic violence, be willing to report it when they sense there is a risk of it, and stand up for victims in court and the community.

A Blue Earth County program initiated a few years ago aimed to tackle the issue by helping coordinate courts, law enforcement and domestic violence social agencies in ways the prevent domestic violence or at the very least help the victims gain a level of safety.

Area agencies adopted the Blueprint for Safety, a statewide program used in some metro area counties with success.

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