published Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Domestic violence crimes falling in Tennessee, TBI reports

NASHVILLE - Reported cases of domestic violence crimes fell 3.4 percent from 2010 through 2012, according a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation study released today.

The study, which analyzed domestic violence crime data through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System, seeks to “gain more insight into the problem,” says TBI Director Mark Gwyn in his introduction to the report.

Analysts examined data flagged as “domestic related” and found a .4 percent drop in reported cases from 2010 to 2011 as well as a 2.9 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.

But officials believe there remains underreporting of domestic violence due to the close, personal relationships between victim and offender.

The number of reported cases of domestic violence to law enforcement was 252,288 from 2010 through 2012, according to the study. The vast majority them were women or girls - almost 72 percent - and their reported experiences outpaced their male counterparts by nearly three to one.

Simple assault accounted for 69.2 percent of reported incidents. Offenses ranged from murder/non-negligent homicide to kidnapping/abduction, forcible rap, sexual assault with an object, intimidation, stalking, incest and statutory rape.

The study says 25,156 juveniles were reported as victims and they account for about 10 percent of all victims. Due to the nature of the close personal relationships between victim and offender, it is believed there is an underreporting of domestically related offenses.

Other findings include:

• Homicides determined to be the result of domestic violence fell by about 22 percent with 80 homicides reported in 2012 compared with 92 in 2010.

• After simple assault, intimidation and aggravated assault were the second and third most frequently reported offense.

• Reported cases of incest are on the rise. They accounted for greatest year to year percent increase, rising by almost 86 percent from 2011 to 2012.

• Approximately 55 percent of the domestic violence incidents reported during the study period were cleared. Of those cleared, 81.5 percent were cleared through arrest and 18.5 percent were cleared “exceptionally.” The majority of exceptional clearances, approximately 83 percent were documented as the victim refused to cooperate typically due to the close relationship that exists between victims and offenders.

The state’s crime statistics data and its analysis is used as a tool for local and state law enforcement as well as social workers

According to a TBI news release, the current assessment “exposes the continuing need for prevention training, intervention, shelter and counseling for victims and potential victims of domestic violence.”

The study was prepared by TBI’s CJIS Support Center.

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