October is national Domestic Violence Awareness month, a good time to put a spotlight on local domestic violence statistics.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services publishes an annual report on its website that breaks down the number of reported instances of domestic violence in each county and each police jurisdiction. We took a look at the numbers and came to the conclusion the only good thing that can be said about Fulton County's 2012 domestic violence report is that it was slightly better than the 2011 report.
In 2012, there were 609 cases of reported domestic violence, down 12.3 percent from 695 in 2011. In 2012, there were 314 reported female victims of domestic abuse in Fulton County, 80 male victims and 215 cases labeled "other family victims." These are all down from 2011, when there were 362 female victims, 94 male victims and 239 victims who were other family members.
The two most recent annual reports, however, show the number of reported incidents has increased dramatically since 2009, when there were only 314 reported cases. There were 386 instances of domestic violence reported for Fulton County in 2010.
Even with the slight reduction in 2012, Fulton County still has seen a near doubling of reports of this disturbing crime in only a few years. In Montgomery County, the numbers are a little less ambiguous: There were 278 reported victims in 2012, 137 in 2011, 87 in 2010 and 104 in 2009. That shows a rapidly increasing number for at least the last three years.
Raechelle Perrin, a residential advocate at the Family Counseling Center in Gloversville, told us that agency is aware of the increase in reported domestic violence in recent years and attributes it at least in part to an increased awareness of the issue.
"More and more women today know they don't have to put up with domestic abuse," she said.
She said another theory is there may be more domestic violence during difficult economic times.
Whatever the cause is, domestic abuse remains a serious problem locally. We encourage people who are victims of domestic violence, or fear that they might soon become victims of it, to call the Family Counseling Center's 24-hour hotline at 725-4310.