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Domestic Violence Rising Amid Homicide Decline In Chicago

Chicago is ending 2023 with a double-digit decline in both shootings and homicides, but a small subset of Chicago’s shootings — those involving domestic violence — have accelerated, a spike that is prompting alarm among victim advocates. Shootings that authorities deemed domestic have increased 19 percent compared with last year at this time. While the number of fatal domestic shootings is unchanged, nonfatal shootings have increased 27 percent, reports the New York Times. Those 127 shootings include a broad array of situations, often occurring at home. They include violence against women at the hands of partners; a woman shooting her abusive partner in self-defense; and a man who shot a cousin during an argument. Only a small portion of the 2,800 people who were shot in Chicago in 2023 were found to be victims of domestic violence.

Experts said the rise could reflect a number of factors: Gun ownership has risen since the start of the pandemic In 2020, applications for gun ownership licenses in Illinois jumped 56 percent over the year before. “The easy access to firearms increased during the pandemic, and ... that drove up this type of violence during the pandemic,” said Amanda Pyron of the Network, an advocacy organization. “That is continuing.” Lawyers for victims of domestic violence pointed to a change in tension, stress and violence that has settled in the U.S. since the pandemic. “It feels like there has been a societal shift in the level of anger, violence and threats,” said Margaret Duval of Ascend Justice, a nonprofit that provides legal advocacy to victims of domestic violence. “We think about road rage and flight rage and all of these things. It may be showing up in homes as well.” The escalating cost of housing could also be preventing some victims of domestic violence from leaving a dangerous situation, advocates who work with victims said.“ Housing is probably our clients’ number one need,” said Jennifer Greene of Life Span, which provides legal aid and counseling to domestic violence victims.


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