This article discusses domestic violence and abuse. If you or someone you know has been assaulted, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for free, 24/7 support. You can also call RAINN's national sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for confidential support.
WISCONSIN — A total of 96 people in Wisconsin lost their lives to domestic violence in 2022, according to the newest Domestic Violence Homicide Report.
That’s 16 more deaths than the previous year — a 20% increase.
Officials with End Abuse said this is the highest total deaths since the organization began releasing data in 2000. This year’s total equates to one death every 3.8 days.
Wisconsin ranks eighth in the nation for the number of women killed by men. In 2021, 1 in every 6 domestic violence deaths in the U.S. happened in Wisconsin, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Of those who died in 2022, 68 were homicide victims and 22 were perpetrators of homicide who died by suicide. In 2021, 65 died by homicide and 11 were perpetrators.
Perpetrators were overwhelmingly male in 2022, making up 88.7% of perpetrators. Victims were mostly female; of those killed by homicide, 49 were female. The average age of a victim was 37 years old.
Homicide deaths occurred across 25 of Wisconsin’s counties. Milwaukee had the most, with 32 deaths.
The majority of these deaths were by firearm. A gun was used in 88.5% of domestic violence deaths in 2022, according to the report. This is an increase of 21.5% since 2021.
The report states that domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to lead to death than with those involving other weapons.
“Year after year, data shows the same patterns: firearms are the most common homicide method, and most people are killed at the hands of a current or former intimate partner," said End Abuse Public Policy Director Jenna Gormal. "Experts know the facts of this public health crisis.”
More than 60% of these homicides took place at a residence.
A large number of domestic violence homicides occurred among Black females. Twenty made up the total number of domestic violence deaths in 2022 in Wisconsin.
Nationally, 45% of Black women experience physical violence, sexual violence and stalking, according to the report. They, along with non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women are killed at nearly three times the rate of non-Hispanic white women, according to a 2017 study.
Perpetrators were also disproportionate. In 2022, half of the male perpetrators were Black in Wisconsin.
Federal funding for domestic violence in the state has decreased. According to the End Abuse report, the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) has steadily declined since 2018.
The Joint Finance Committee also cut investments Gov. Tony Evers had made for survivor safety from the 2023-24 state budget.
The End Abuse report writers called these cuts “devastating” and urged people to send representatives the findings.