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Are Intimate Partner Violence Incidents Really Dropping?

A New York City man was charged Tuesday with murdering his pregnant girlfriend by strangling her in a car on a Queens highway. Goey Charles had called 911 on Monday to report her missing, but a prosecutor said it was a ruse. It was one of three domestic violence killings in the city in the last 10 days, in a year when those crimes have dropped, the New York Times reports. Forty-five people had been reported killed in acts of domestic violence as of Oct. 18, compared with 56 by the same day last year.  Police have recorded 10 percent fewer domestic violence crimes overall this year, though more victims have been shot. The authorities and aid groups that work with victims say those decreases mask an underreported problem that has likely worsened during the pandemic, as many victims are focus more on trying to meet basic needs than stopping abusers.

Judy Harris Kluger, a retired judge, said two of the recent killings highlighted when victims are in the greatest danger: when they are leaving and when they are pregnant. Kluger, now director of the nonprofit Sanctuary for Families, said its hotlines had experienced sharp increases in calls for help during the pandemic. “It’s all a function of isolation, not knowing where to turn, increased tension at home,” she said. “When you’re in a crisis situation, as we are in this city and country, the risk is elevated, particularly for those who are already vulnerable.”