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UH study: Domestic violence deaths have doubled from 2019 to 2022

The numbers show that in 2019, 32 people were killed in domestic violence incidents. That number jumped to 64 in 2022.

HOUSTON — Although homicide deaths appear to be down in the Houston area, a study that was recently shared with city leaders in Houston shows an alarming trend when it comes to domestic violence deaths.

The study, completed by University of Houston researchers, shows they've doubled since 2019. They said the numbers show that Black women are disproportionately affected.

They're hoping the study will push leaders to provide more resources for domestic violence shelters before it's too late. Those who work at the shelters said they're overwhelmed. They said they realized the problem was getting worse by the number of calls they were getting.

The research

The numbers were pulled from the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Police Department.

"It's between spouses, or girlfriend/boyfriend, or ex-partner," UH Director of Research of Women's Gender and Sexuality Elizabeth Gregory said.

The numbers showed that in 2019, 32 people were killed in domestic violence incidents. That number jumped to 64 in 2022. It's a statistic Houston Area Women's Center workers said matches what they're seeing.

"We were not shocked. We have been on the frontlines of this epidemic," Emilee Whitehurst said. "When you have a history of disinvestment in communities and systematic barriers -- equal pay, access to services, housing and healthcare -- they will be more vulnerable."

The research showed that Black women made up 52% of the female homicide victims even though they only make up 20% of the Harris County population.

Why the uptick?

Researchers said they believe the stress of isolation, economic and housing issues and the permitless open carry law in Texas played into the rise.

Researchers said they think the financial dependency women have on men, along with the lack of equal pay, have an effect.

Stretched thin

When domestic violence survivors do reach out for help, those who do help said there just isn't room to take them in.

According to officials, out of 1,307 people who requested shelter last year, only 330 were placed.

The study was shared with city leaders with the hope that they'll provide more resources. In the future, researchers said they want to look at the numbers in surrounding communities to get a broader look at what's happening in the region.


Even though they're stretched thin, people who find themselves in a situation where they need out are still encouraged to call. If you're in dire need, the shelters will do everything they can to help -- even place you in a hotel if necessary.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are some discreet ways to reach out for help.

24-hour hotlines

The Houston Area Women’s Center has a 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence at 713-528-2121 or 1-800-256-0551.

The Family Time Crisis Center can also be reached 24 hours a day at 281-446-2615.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Text for help

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741.

Or text LOVEIS to 22522.

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