Metro Police have arrested more than 500 people on the 2009 felony strangulation law but are concerned the majority of domestic violence victims are refusing help from authorities.

At a news conference on Thursday, Metro Police Capt. Vincent Cannito showed a video of a woman who was beaten and stabbed 18 times by her boyfriend. The camera focused on the woman’s face and then pulled back, revealing the scars on her neck.

“Any guy that hits you once will do it again,” she said.

Cannito said an estimated 1.5 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Strangulation can be a part of domestic violence or dating abuse, Cannito said.

“Domestic violence is about power and control,” Cannito said. “The majority of victims are women.”

He said the new strangulation law has helped law enforcement arrest assailants and work with the District Attorney’s Office to bring felony charges against them. Before the law took effect, domestic violence charges were considered misdemeanors, Cannito said.

Cannito said there were 40 domestic violence-related homicides in Metro’s jurisdiction in 2008 and 38 last year. So far this year, there have been nine, he said.

Metro has tried to reduce the numbers by raising awareness about domestic violence and how to prevent it, Cannito said. Implementation of the Lethality Assessment Program has also helped by allowing Metro officers to conduct more than 4,400 assessments with domestic violence victims.

The program uses an 11-question screening system to determine the type of situation the victim is in and the danger it poses.

But women offered assistance most often refuse it and do not remove themselves from the situation, Cannito said.

“Anyone who puts a hand on you is not going to change,” he said.

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