ASHEVILLE — Authorities in Western North Carolina reported an increase in domestic violence homicide investigations in 2012, mirroring a statewide trend.
Sixteen people died in the mountains from domestic violence, up from 10 the previous year, according to the N.C. Department of Justice. Statewide, 122 people lost their lives in domestic violence homicides in 2012, an increase of 16 from the previous year.
“I have great concern about this increase,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said. “It’s clear that North Carolina must do more to stop domestic abuse before it turns deadly.”
Four of the domestic violence deaths last year happened in Henderson County. There were three each in Buncombe and Madison counties. Henderson County’s four domestic violence homicides are more than expected for its population, the Department of Justice said.
Last year’s increase in domestic violence deaths underscores the need for more resources for victims, better enforcement of laws against abusers and increased education and awareness, the Attorney General’s Office said. Unemployment and lack of affordable housing can lead to increased domestic violence incidents, said Julie Klipp Nicholson, managing attorney at Pisgah Legal Services.