KBI says rape, domestic violence reports up
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation published a report on domestic violence and rape for last year.
, reporting of domestic violence and rape increased.
A domestic violence incident happened in Kansas once every 21 minutes, and 50 seconds in 2018.
The 24,066 domestic violence incidents reported in 2018 was up 6% from 2017.
Michelle McCormick, Program Director for the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment said, "Nobody wants to think about these things happening in our community, but they are very real and we see their very real impacts on our clients every single day here."
McCormick said they saw a 15% increase in people accessing their services last year. She added that it may be because more victims are coming forward thanks to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp.
"That's actually a very good thing that people are coming forward and saying I need help with this issue," she said, "So, I hope that people feel encouraged that it's okay to come forward, it's okay to tell people what you've gone through."
Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay agreed saying, "What we know about this type of crime is that they often go unreported. It's my hope that victims are feeling more empowered in today's environment."
He said the KBI's report may seem discouraging, but it is a step in the right direction.
Kagay said, "Let's talk about it, let's not pretend like it's not happening. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing and acknowledging that there is one."
The report also shows 8.9% more rapes reported last year than in 2017, with a total of 1,349.
In 81.1% of those cases, the victim knew the suspect.
McCormick said, "We need the community to recognize this issue as a problem, as a community issue, as a public health issue, that whether you're directly impacted by it or not it's something we need your help in responding to the issue."
There was also one less domestic violence-related death in 2018 (37) than in 2017 (38). That accounts for about a quarter (25.3%) of the 146 total homicides reported in 2018.
The report compiles data on domestic violence, rape, stalking, sodomy, and sexual battery incidents reported to KBI by state and local law enforcement agencies across Kansas.
The report only represents those cases reported to law enforcement.