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FATALITIES

Each year, PCADV tracks and reports on domestic violence-related fatalities in Pennsylvania. "Fatalities" includes both victims killed by the perpetrators and perpetrators who committed suicide or were killed by law enforcement. "Victims" includes all the innocent victims: the intended victims as well as bystanders, children and other family members, and law enforcement officers killed by the perpetrator.

2013 Fatality Report
107 victims + 51 perpetrators = 158 deaths

115 incidents resulted in 158 domestic violence-related deaths during the year. That’s a 10 percent increase over 2012’s 143 deaths.

The 107 victims included a college math professor, a paramedic, a nurse, a high school senior set to graduate in two weeks, a college student, a florist, five women over age 80, single mothers and a bride on the way to the final fitting of her wedding dress.

Pennsylvania has no central database or separate reporting requirements for domestic violence homicides. We rely on news reports and police data to compile this report.

Victim data counts killings among current, former and new intimate partners and family members, following the victim definition in the Protection From Abuse Act. Perpetrator data includes perpetrator suicides and killings (by police or other interveners). We also count deaths of bystanders and those killed intervening during domestic violence incidents. All these fatalities matter to PCADV and to their families.

A Grim Toll in Pennsylvania

As diverse as the victims are - from all corners of the Commonwealth and of all ages, races, incomes and educational levels - their struggles often share eerie similarities. Many were attempting to end abusive relationships, seeking legal protections and hoping to obtain custody of their children, while trying to stay safe.

So many of the perpetrators' stories also share eerily similar elements - intimidation, obsession, possessiveness, revenge and refusal to accept the end of a relationship. Firearms are the predominant choice of weapon in domestic violence fatalities in Pennsylvania.

PCADV produces an annual domestic violence fatality report as a chilling reminder of the consequences of unchecked violence and the suffering and loss experienced by families, friends and communities.

In Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2009, at least 1,455 people died as a result of domestic violence-related incidents, a rate that has spiked 49 percent in recent years - from 121 in 2007 to 180 in 2009.

A Proven Approach - Lethality Assessment Program

PCADV is doing more than just counting domestic violence fatalities. We are trying to prevent them. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, community-based domestic violence programs and local police departments, PCADV implemented the Lethality Assessment Program in 18 counties in 2013. (23 counties participate as of May 2014.)

The Lethality Assessment gives on-scene police officers a brief screening tool to identify domestic violence victims at highest risk of being killed by their abusers. Officers can then connect those victims by phone to immediate assistance at their local domestic violence program. We believe that this approach will reduce future fatalities. Maryland, which pioneered the program, has seen a 34 percent decline in domestic violence fatalities in the last 5 years.

Remembering the Victims

PCADV invites family members who have lost loved ones to domestic violence to add their photo and name to the Remember My Name memorial.

Fatality Reports


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