The two candidates for Seattle Mayor—current mayor Mike McGinn and opponent Ed Murray—have been butting heads in the final weeks of the campaign regarding the city’s domestic violence rates. But who is right, and why have the rates of domestic abuse gone up in recent years?
While it is true that domestic violence crimes have gone up by 60 percent between 2009 and 2012, both sides are arguing about the cause of this rise—and who is ultimately at fault.
Ed Murray’s View
According to Ed Murray, domestic violence rates have shot up 60 percent because McGinn has slashed Seattle’s domestic violence resources. He dissolved the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Office into the more general Human Resources Office and eliminated two domestic violence advocate positions within the Seattle Police Department. The supporters of Murray believe that these steps harmed domestic abuse education and prevention, starting in 2011, and causing a surge in domestic abuse and domestic violence incidents. They believe that McGinn does not see eliminating domestic violence incidents as a priority.
Mike McGinn’s View
While McGinn admits that he combined the city’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Office with the Human Resources Office, he argues that almost no jobs were eliminated and that spending on domestic violence has gone up during his watch: from $3.7 million in 2009 to almost $5 million in 2013.
Supporters of McGinn believe that domestic violence incidents have risen because more people are reporting and prosecuting domestic violence crimes—a good thing. Some also say that more domestic violence cases are appearing due to tougher domestic abuse laws, including one provision that makes it easier for choking victims to file aggravated domestic violence assault charges. In addition, many domestic violence incidents that used to be misdemeanors are now considered felonies.
Seattle Domestic Violence Attorney
Washington domestic violence lawyer Molly B. Kenny represents clients in the Seattle and Bellevue area. To learn more about her services, or to schedule a consultation, please call 425-460-0550 today.