Office of Communications
News Release

501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 600
Portland Oregon 97214

Multnomah County

Domestic violence deaths double in 2010

Monday, 1/10/11 - 10:29 am

Chiquita Rollins, Domestic Violence Coordinator, Department of County Human Services, 503-988-4112


Domestic violence remains one of the greatest risks to life and safety in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties. The 2010 year-end total of domestic violence-related deaths in Multnomah County shows an unprecedented increase of murders and suicides.  Compared to 2009, the number of domestic violence-related deaths in Multnomah County doubled in 2010. 

In 2009 Multnomah County reported 4 incidents with a total of 6 fatalities: 4 homicide victims and 2 suicides. Three of the incidents involved guns.

In 2010 there were 8 incidents with a total of 12 fatalities: 9 homicide victims and 3 suicides. Three of the incidents involved guns.

In addition, domestic violence remains the leading cause of homicides. Twelve of the 34 homicides in 2010 were attributable to domestic violence, more than twice the number attributable to gangs.

“The factors that lead to these deaths are complex and varied, but we know that when women are leaving a relationship, they are more likely to be assaulted, injured or killed. Unemployment, poverty and stress are factors, but not a definitive explanation of why some men kill their partners or their children,” said Chiquita Rollins, Multnomah County Domestic Violence Coordinator.

The community has made significant commitments to find ways to prevent domestic violence, including intervention in very high risk cases through the Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team and the Safe Start project which places victim advocates in Child Welfare Offices.  But officials acknowledge that much more needs to be done.

"These numbers should be startling to all of us, but more importantly our reaction to them cannot simply be surprise," said Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen. "Domestic violence is very real and prominent in all corners. It affects us, our children, our relatives, our friends, our neighbors. Everyone needs to speak out against domestic violence to make sure that people understand that this kind of violence and behavior is unacceptable."

The Multnomah County Family Violence Coordinating Council offers the following suggestions on how the public can help prevent domestic violence and support victims:

1. Listen to the victim with empathy and respect. Ask open-ended questions that let them know you care and want to know more about what is happening to them. Make sure you keep information they share with you confidential.

2. Call 9-1-1 if you see or hear someone being abused, and be willing to give the police a statement regarding what you saw or heard.

3. Speak out in your community about domestic violence and stalking. Let your neighbors, friends, family, coworkers or members of your congregation or place of worship know that you are concerned about this problem and believe that you and they have a role to play in ending it.

4. Support domestic violence programs with donations of money, food, clothes, household goods or volunteer your time. Advocate with local, state and federal officials for funding and support for these programs.

5. Encourage your employer/manager to develop a policy on responding to domestic violence in the workplace that supports victims, provides safety for co-workers and conforms to Oregon leave and anti-discrimination laws.

For more information visit: