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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2009

Local intimate partner violence report released

The Environmental Health and Safety Group presented a report today to the City Council’s Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee on the financial impact of intimate partner violence in the Kansas City area. Intimate partner violence is a type of domestic violence that is specific to current or former intimate partners.

The group was formed by the Kansas City Health Commission's Community Health Improvement Plan Summit in 2006. It includes representatives of the City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department, Police Department, area domestic violence shelters and health care providers.

The group worked with 20 area service providers to gather demographic and incident related information while protecting the identities of the victims. The results of the survey were reported in a press conference this morning.

“Those of us who work every day with victims of intimate partner violence understand the high cost it brings in pain, trauma, and broken lives,” said Robin Winner of Synergy Services, Inc. “However, the survey was an attempt to learn what our current response to the violence, both with victims and offenders, costs the Kansas City area.”

The report revealed that the community currently spends more than $21 million a year to respond to this crime.

“It’s clear domestic violence has a profound cost to our community,” said Capt. Mark Folsom of the Police Department. “Approximately 60 percent of non-aggravated assaults and 33 percent of aggravated assaults reported to the police department are classified as domestic violence.”

The survey is the first step in providing a broad view of the impact of intimate partner violence in the community. However, that cost does not represent the long-term consequences of intimate violence.

“The effect on health extends far beyond immediate injuries,” said Vicki Beezley, a nurse at the Health Department and group co-chair. “Children raised in violent homes are more likely to suffer chronic health conditions as adults and develop risk factors for leading causes of death including heart disease, lung disease and cancer.”

The full report and the group’s recommendations may be found on the Health Department Web site, http://www.kcmo.org/health.

Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).

    
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