National study ranks Tennessee 5th in murders of women by men

National study ranks Tennessee 5th in murders of women by men

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By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A new report on crime ranks Tennessee fifth in the nation in the number of women killed by men. It's the same ranking Tennessee received last year.

The study released Tuesday by the Violence Policy Center found of the 59 women killed by men in 2009, almost all were slain by a man they knew.

The most dangerous time for a woman in a violent relationship is the time she's planning to leave, according to those who deal with domestic violence cases every day at the Family Justice Center in Knoxville.

"For someone who wants to control, they bear down control when they feel it slipping away," explained Amy Dilworth, executive director of the Family Justice Center.

Knox County Sheriff's Capt. Jeanette Harris oversees the Family Crisis Unit for the sheriff's office at the justice center.

"To see somebody laying there deceased and there are so many services available is very upsetting to me," Capt. Harris said.

The new study by the Violence Policy Council didn't surprise Dilworth. "Other than Nevada, which is always at the top, other states tend to be Southern states," she said. "The violence council that puts this out, they look at guns and deaths occurring to guns as part of what they study when you look at their site."

Dilworth says federal gun laws are the same nationwide, but can be interpreted differently. "Is there a correlation then when we see the numbers of women murdered by men? Maybe, perhaps that's something there should be a study on," she added.

The rise in domestic violence is one reason the Family Justice Center opened in Knoxville in 2006. Under one roof you can access social services, city and county police, the district attorney general's office and even spiritual help.

"We have prevented people from being killed," said Capt. Harris. "Those are the stories we don't hear about is the stories about the women that do come here and get out of the situations, that we have to put in hiding, taken to another county with their children."

Cooperation between all the agencies is a step in the right direction, but those battling domestic violence say they're always trying to do more.

The latest information in the study is from 2009, compiled from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime statistics, as reported by law enforcement across the state.

If you want help for yourself or someone else, call the Tennessee Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-356-6767.

If you live in Knox County, call the Family Justice Center's 24-hour help line at 865-521-6336.

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