WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Murders stemming from domestic violence are happening at record levels this year in Wichita, the Wichita Police Department announced in a press conference Monday.
So far, in 2023, six people have been murdered by their partner in Wichita, which is triple the average number, according to the WPD.
“Going back five years, we normally average two, with the year 2020 being our high year at six,” said Steven Thornton, WPD Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes Investigative Section Lieutenant.
Domestic violence cases are also up.
“This year, year to date, we have 6,200 cases,” Thornton said. “Going back five years, we normally average year-to-date 6,100 cases.”
Wichita Family Crisis Center executive director Amanda Meyers said news of the increase did not come as a surprise.
“We have had an unprecedented summer, and the past few months have just been really crazy with people reaching out, the need for shelter,” Meyers said.
More people are also filing for restraining orders, according to Meyers.
She said economic stress is one of several issues contributing to the rise in domestic violence.
“I think financial insecurity really caused any sort of potential abuse in the home to get worse,” Meyers said.
On top of money trouble, increases in substance abuse and poor mental health are taking a toll on people, according to Meyers.
Collaboration between the government, law enforcement and nonprofits is needed to combat domestic violence, according to her.
“The more communication and the better communication that happens, the better survivors are served,” Meyers said.
WPD said it is working with charitable organizations to build up resources.
“Our commitment is not only to respond to these incidents of violence but to prevent them from happening in the first place,” said WPD Chief Joe Sullivan.
This week, the WPD is launching a city-wide effort to arrest people with arrest warrants for misdemeanor domestic violence.
Previously, the Domestic Intervention and Violence Reduction (DIVRT) team only focused on finding felony offenders.
Whether it’s for a family member, friend, co-worker, or for yourself, there is help out there for anyone experiencing domestic violence. Click here to find local resources.