A new study is revealing disturbing numbers about domestic violence deaths in our state and our area.

The latest report from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows 2009 was a particularly deadly year and experts say they are worried it could get worse.

Experts call the latest numbers alarming. Domestic violence deaths in Pennsylvania are at the highest level in three years.

There were 179 in 2009 compared to 121 in 2007.

"It's scary. It's scary because there is a state network of domestic violence service agencies available and you think at that point that there should be a lot of response and a lot of different resources out there," said Paula Triano of the Domestic Violence Service Center.
Northeastern Pennsylvania has seen its share of those deaths, with the recent murder-suicide of a police officer and his wife in Northumberland County.

In Wilkes-Barre, a man faces trial for the shooting death of his wife in front of their young children.

And another man from White Haven was charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death after she filed a protection from abuse order against him.

What could be causing this recent spike in fatalities?

"I'm not sure. I'm not sure. We always say prevention, prevention, prevention, in trying to get the information out there. The people who know about us are the people who have to use us. It's not like we're a household name. There's a stigma about domestic violence. I think it has more to do with education," Triano added.

she said the trend toward more fatalities has to stop and it's up to everyone, the victims of abuse, police, medical staff and neighbors, to make it happen.

"It's everybody's business. That's why I'm saying domestic violence is so complex and the only way we can end domestic violence is a collaboration of services," said Triano.

She warns most domestic violence homicide and fatalities occur when victims try to leave their abusers.

If you or someone you know is being abused, you can call the domestic violence 24 hour hotline at 1-800-424-5600.
Copyright © 2010, WNEP-TV

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