Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said that domestic violence deaths in Kansas doubled in 2017.
There were 38 domestic violence deaths reported in Kansas in 2017. In Missouri, there were 65.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said that his office handles about 1,700 domestic violence cases a year.
"What's really scary is on top of the 1,700 cases, we help victims prepare around 1,500 protection orders a year," Howe said.
Howe said that he is working with community groups to lower the number of domestic violence deaths.
"That's a lot of cases. It could be a slap, a punch, others broken bones or strangled, and of course when you have a domestic violence homicide. Luckily we don’t have a ton of those," Howe said.
Howe said that SAFEHOME, a domestic violence shelter in Johnson County, has two employees in his office who work with victims. Those employees also provide services for protection orders.
In 2017, Missouri saw a slight decrease in the number of domestic violence deaths.
Still, "one death is one too many," said Vicki Kraft, president of Newhouse.
Newhouse is a safe place for victims. The organization also works with the Kansas City Domestic Violence Court.
Kraft said educating victims on how to break away from those who are threatening them is important.
"That's the most dangerous time for them. When they try to break free from that relationship, the next couple of days is more likely to have a fatality or a serious injury," Kraft said.
Howe said that educating victims early is just as important.
"It's amazing when we go to these high schools and kids tell us, 'I am in an abusive relationship.' And that is at the high-school level," Howe said.
There are a number of resources in the Kansas City area for victims who need help. Contact the Newhouse hotline at 816-471-5800 or the SAFEHOME hotline at 913-262-2868. Both hotlines are staffed 24 hours a day.