Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Task Force

In 1999, more than 100 women in Michigan were murdered as a result of domestic violence.

Faced with this tragic reality, Governor John Engler created the Michigan Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Task Force. Since 1991, Michigan has been a national leader in the enactment of laws protecting victims of domestic violence. This task force, a panel of 12 dedicated professionals under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus, set out to build on this record of leadership and stop domestic violence homicides.

First and foremost, the task force recognizes that domestic violence remains the sole responsibility of the abuser. Secondly, the only way to end homicides resulting from domestic violence is to end domestic violence.

Over the past six months, the members of the task force worked diligently to reach broad agreement on current challenges and recommendations for the future. The group examined homicide cases resulting from domestic violence; discussed what steps government and community groups must take to prevent domestic violence and related homicides; heard testimony from 74 witnesses; consulted with judges and court personnel, police, prosecutors, domestic violence service providers, and victims; reviewed over 100 assessment surveys; examined current research; and concluded the following:

  • The public - from children to adults -- must be educated and made aware that domestic violence is not a private family matter, but a crime that hundreds of women live in fear of every day;
  • Victims of domestic violence are often frustrated in their efforts to gain protection through the court system;
  • No accurate or uniform system for reporting and standardizing data collection for domestic violence crimes and homicides currently exists, making it nearly impossible to track and study the incidents of abuse; and
  • A standardized method of domestic violence prevention training is needed in preparing members of the judiciary and law enforcement community to better respond to victims' needs.