COLUMBUS, KS.--- The Kansas Bureau of Investigation reports domestic violence incidents are the highest they've been in 20 years. Sheriff Groves of Cherokee County says now more women feel safer to speak out against violence in their homes. The most recent KBI domestic violence, stalking, and rape report shows that between 1992 and 2012, the highest number of domestic violence incidents occurred last year.
"Definitely seen an increase. Increase in people that are calling for our services," said Sheriff David Groves, Cherokee County.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says one domestic violence incident occurs every 21 minutes and 36 seconds. The data was compiled from Kansas law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
"We would be seeing an increase in reported incidents. Where again, the victim is more comfortable contacting law enforcement. They're becoming more aware of ways they can end that abusive relationship," said Sheriff Groves.
The report shows in 2012, there were more than 24,000 incidents of domestic violence reported. Compared to 2011, it has increased by 214 incidents. Domestic violence victim advocate, Vicky Polen, attributes the increase to the number of services which are now being offered to help women in abusive relationships.
"We are definitely serving more victims for longer periods of time. That we've seen that influx in people in and out of our shelter. Full, full shelter," said Vicky Polen, Safe House Victim Advocate.
Polen also agrees with Sheriff Groves and thinks difficult economic times have a direct impact on domestic violence issues in Kansas homes.
"Contribute it to the economic downturn that we've seen over the last couple years. Certainly, when times get tougher, emotions get higher in domestic situations so that can result in violence," said Polen.
To be exact, in 2012 Cherokee County had 117 incidents of domestic violence. Crawford County reported 264 incidents. Both of those numbers are currently lower than 2011. There's been a decrease for those two counties. We also noticed the number of rapes have decreased in Kansas as well.
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