University Team Shares New Domestic Violence Data with Task Force

Dr. Denise Paquette Boots

The Dallas Police Department receives an average of 42 domestic violence-related 911 calls every day, according to a new report that University of Texas at Dallas researchers wrote for the Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force.

The University’s Institute for Urban Policy Research (IUPR) collected and analyzed extensive data on domestic violence for the city for the fourth year in a row, detailing the number of incidents reported to police, lack of shelter space and the outcome of domestic violence cases in the courts as part of a 57-page report.

“The statistics are staggering; the stories behind the numbers are heartbreaking,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at an Oct. 26 breakfast event at City Hall, where the report was released. Rawlings said it is an important step toward finding effective solutions.

“You can’t change anything if you don’t measure it,” Rawlings said. “We needed more information and more statistics to really understand what we’re dealing with and where we’re coming up short in the process.”

Anthony Galvan

Lead researcher Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, professor of public policy and political economy and senior research fellow of the IUPR, presented the report at the Domestic Violence Awareness Month event. Boots worked with two research partners: Dr. Timothy Bray, director of the institute and clinical assistant professor of criminology at UT Dallas, and Anthony Galvan, IUPR’s associate director of research and operations.

“Together these data present a cumulative picture of the systemic response to domestic violence and offer a preliminary glimpse into the year-to-year changes, allowing us to track the same metrics over time,” Boots said.

The researchers collected more than 3,000 variables that involved hundreds of hours of data cleaning, coding, interpretation and analysis. The report includes data from shelters, the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, the Dallas City Attorney’s Office, Dallas courts and an electronic survey of service. It covers the period from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018.

The report was funded by gifts from the Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas Women’s Foundation, the Embrey Family Foundation, Mary Kay and Verizon.

Dr. Timothy Bray

Dallas City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates, who serves as chair of the Domestic Violence Task Force, said the report has helped the group identify solutions, such as holding offenders more accountable and restricting offenders’ access to firearms. The report has documented an increase in the number of cases filed that include higher penalties for offenders because of previous or related domestic-violence charges.

“That’s why it’s so important that we continue to collect and share data from our partners,” Gates said.

Paige Flink, CEO of The Family Place, which serves victims of domestic violence, said the report also demonstrates the need for more services to address domestic violence. Shelters turned away 13,378 women, children and men during the reporting period due to lack of space, according to the report.

“The fact that there are 19 arrests for domestic violence per day shows how much more we need in services,” Flink said. “Data is key to being able to measure how you’re making an impact on an issue. This helps people understand the complexity of domestic violence.”


By the Numbers

Researchers from the Institute for Urban Policy Research recently completed their annual report on domestic violence in Dallas. The 2017-18 Domestic Violence Task Force Report for the city of Dallas includes the following statistics from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018:

  • 32 homicides by intimate partners (current or former boyfriend, husband, girlfriend or wife) from 2014 to 2018.
  • 75 percent of the homicide victims were killed at their homes.
  • 71 percent of the homicide victims were killed with a firearm.
  • 15,347 domestic violence-related offenses were reported to the Dallas Police Department.
  • 19 domestic violence arrests per day (average)
  • 332 victims in emergency shelter each night, up 35 percent from the previous reporting period due to the addition of new shelter beds.
  • 13,378 victims were turned away from shelters because of a lack of space.
  • 219 protection order violations.
  • 140 firearms collected through a Dallas County gun surrender program.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].