Law agencies responded to more abuse calls in 1999

Nevada law enforcement agencies responded to 17.7 percent more incidents of domestic violence in the last six months of 1999 compared with the same period the year before, the attorney general's office reported.

''The increase in the number of reports may be a reflection of improvements in reporting by law enforcement,'' Veronica Frenkel, the domestic violence ombudsman in the attorney general's office, said Monday.

''Greater familiarity with the reporting form and process has likely resulted in more consistent and complete participation by local agencies and, therefore, greater accuracy in their reporting.''

There were 9,325 domestic violence incidents reported in the last half of 1999 and 7,926 in the last six months of 1998, according to a report that is part of a continuing effort to track incidents of domestic violence. The use of a standardized statewide form to report such incidents began on Jan. 1, 1998.

According to the report, arrests were made in about 53 percent of the incidents where police responded, consistent with the first half of 1999 and slightly higher than the arrest rate reported in 1998.

The statistics also show that about 74 percent of the incidents occurred in Clark County, where 68 percent of the state's population resides.

''The high incidence of reporting in Clark County is likely a reflection of the well-developed systems in place to respond to victims of domestic violence in the region,'' Frenkel said. ''Additionally, some of the rural jurisdictions of our state probably experience a certain degree of underreporting, which indicates the need to support and strengthen victim services in these regions.''

Sue Meuschke, executive director of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence, said it is also important to recognize that many victims of domestic violence do not contact law enforcement.

A total of 16,534 victims made first-time contact with domestic violence programs in Nevada in the last six months of 1999. Of that number, 6,247, or 38 percent, also had contacted law enforcement, she said.


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