Leslie Metzen, a former district court judge, spoke about domestic violence to a men's group at my church, Shepherd of the Valley in Apple Valley, Minn. To provide context for the scope of the problem, she cited figures from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). One of these was that, according to the CDC, 1200 women a year are murdered by their domestic partners.
Seeking to verify this, I went to the CDC website myself. If anything, the scale of the problem may be even worse than Judge Metzen described. A violence prevention factsheet posted on the site states that intimate partner violence (IPV) resulted in 1510 deaths in 2005, which presumably was the most recent year with solid data available. The CDC reported that 78 percent of those deaths were females and 22 percent males.
Some of those male deaths are probably police officers, such as Richard Crittenden of Noth St. Paul, who was killed last September when responding to a domestic call. The gunman in that case had been stalking his ex-wife and entered her apartment despite a no-contact order.
Another recent victim in Minnesota was Pam Taschuk, a 48-year-old juvenile probation officer and social worker who was fatally shot by her estranged husband. This occured only a month after he had posted $5000 bail to gain release from jail after assaulting her - and despite an order for protection from the court.
Following Pam Taschuk's murder, several Minnesota law enforcement agencies have been working to revise their policies for responding to domestic violence calls. The goal is to ask questions that will better identify people who are likely to commit lethal violence.