A new report by UT Dallas’ Institute for Urban Policy Research (IUPR) gives a detailed picture of domestic violence in Dallas that includes 15,000 calls to police and a shortage of shelter rooms and beds for victims.
The institute’s second Annual Summary Report for the Dallas Domestic Violence Taskforce provides metrics needed to track the City of Dallas’ progress in addressing domestic violence, Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a City Hall event to release the report.
“We care about this issue and that’s why we’re measuring it,” Rawlings said. “It’s the longitudinal nature of data that’s important. Is it going up or going down? We’re starting to build that.”
It’s the second year that the IUPR, a research group in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), has collected the data and completed a report. Researchers included Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, IUPR senior research fellow and program head and associate professor of criminology; Dr. Tim Bray, director of the institute and clinical professor of criminology; and Anthony Galvan, associate director of IUPR for research and operations. Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Women’s Foundation, Mary Kay and Verizon sponsored the project.
The researchers collected data from the Dallas Police Department, Dallas District Attorney’s Office, the courts, domestic violence shelters and referral agencies, the Dallas City Attorney’s Office and elected officials. The data includes domestic violence 911 calls, cases filed and victims turned away from packed shelters from June 2015 through May 2016. Boots highlighted how the findings changed from those in last year’s report, including:
- Five intimate partner homicides, down from 10.
- 500 prosecutions that included additional penalties when strangulation was involved in the offense, up 198 percent from the previous year.
- The Dallas Police Department responded to 15,124 domestic violence-related calls, up from 14,781.
- 5,765 misdemeanor arrests, a 3 percent decrease.
- 1,458 felony arrests, a 12 percent decrease.
- 178 protective order violations, a 19 percent increase.
- 10,154 men, women and children turned away from shelters due to lack of capacity, up 34 percent.
- An average of 179 victims served in emergency shelters each month, up 18 percent.
The report also included results of a survey of task force members’ highest public policy priorities. Top responses included more funding, shelter capacity and services for victims. Despite the prevalence of domestic violence, Boots said the good news is that Dallas is taking an innovative, team-based approach toward solutions and the sharing of resources.
“We have an incredible level of innovation, cooperation and support of each other across our task force partners,” Boots said. “Dallas has a dynamic, broad coordinated community response team. You all support each other and you share that common goal, and that level of cooperation truly makes our city unique. We’re very proud to be a part of the task force and serve as the research team for the city.”