Sometimes domestic violence takes the form of verbal or mental abuse. All too often it escalates to physical violence and can sometimes leads to death. Causes of domestic violence can emerge from financial, emotional, mental problems that may involve alcohol or other drugs.
On Tuesday (1/28) George Henning, age 34, of Maple Avenue in Palmyra began arguing with the mother of his 16-month old son. The argument lasted through the night and the woman finally left, only to return a short time later to the house they shared. The fight began where it left off and, at one point, according to statements made to police, Henning told the woman she would never see him again.
The woman attempted to call police, but Henning reportedly grabbed the phone, tried to break it and threw it out a door. It was at this point the violence turned physical. Henning allegedly struck the woman in the face, causing severe bruising and a great deal of blood. The woman received a deep laceration around her eye and fled, jumping into her car and retreating to a nearby neighbor’s house to call 911. The 16-month old boy was left with Henning.
Police received a call of an assault involving a man armed with a 12 gauge shotgun. When they arrived, all was quiet at the house and there was no response at the door. Carefully, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies walked around the house and peered in through a lower level window. Henning was observed on the floor, having taken his own life with a shotgun blast. The child was in another room, away from the carnage.
For whatever reason, George Henning’s evolving domestic violence took a deadly turn. It could have been much worse. Responding to a domestic situation is the second most common cause of police deaths and injuries, second only to accidents in and around traffic stops. “This could have been really even worse. He could have killed the kid,” said Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts. The Sheriff knows that officer injuries at domestic violence calls are always a reality.
The woman was taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries, then reunited with her son.
According to Ramona Palmer, Executive Director Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Inc., located in Newark, previous history of abuse is by far the dominant risk factor in suicide or murder/suicide in domestic violence. 82% of men who killed themselves or their partners were known to authorities such as treatment professionals, the military or criminal justice system (NYSCADV).
In most cases, the perpetrator exhibits possessive, obsessive and jealous behaviors. The times where a victim is threatening to leave the relationship, or when a woman is pregnant or just delivered a baby are the most dangerous times. The threat of leaving and calling the police or authorities raises the risk of suicide or murder/suicide. The risk factors during this time are a prior history of domestic violence, access to a gun, specific threats and a history of poor mental health and/or substance abuse.
The number one way pregnant women die in the U.S. is by domestic violence. (NYSOPDV)
• One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
• The cost of intimate partner/domestic violence in the U.S. exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
• Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.
• Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults, exacerbating a perpetuation of violence in the home and long-term criminal justice and medical services interventions.
• 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.
• There were over 50,000 cases of domestic violence annually in New York.
• There were close to 150,000 orders of protection of filed in New York in 2012.
• Close to 50,000 adults and over 25,000 children in New York were assisted by domestic violence programs.
If you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic abuse, you can contact the Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Inc. at (315) 331-1171 ex. 1300, or at the Crisis Hotline at (866) 343-8808 or (800) 456-1172