Startling new data from the Violence Policy Center reveals nearly 2,000 American women died a the hands of their intimate partners in 2017.

According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, last year there were many more domestic violence related murders in the county than previous years.

In wake of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Violence Policy Center released new data showing that 1,948 American women were murdered by their male partner in 2017.

Here in Erie County, the District Attorney’s Office says they’ve seen an unusual spike in domestic violence related murders this past year.

“The women that were killed last year weren’t ones that we’ve seen repeatedly come through the court system or in fact come through the court system at all,” said Erie Connelly, Assistant District Attorney, Erie County.

Erie Connelly was the lead prosecutor on some of the more well known domestic violence cases like the murder of Amanda Grazioli, the woman who was shot and killed by her husband John Grazioli in March of 2018.

Then, there was the murder of Alicia Stalheim, the 25-year-old who was shot to death by her boyfriend at an East Side Erie Pizza Hut.

These are just some of the more high profile homicide cases the District Attorney’s Office has had to deal with in the past year.

“It’s been really rough. It has an emotional impact on everyone. It’s bittersweet in the end to get to the conviction, but you realize what has happened and what a family has lost, the loved one they lost,” said Connelly.

There is no way to tell if anything could have prevented those tragic murders from happening, but an official from SafeNet Education and Awareness says they can help reduce the number of domestic violence related deaths.

“We do a lot of safety planning with people, whether they’re staying in the relationship or whether they’re leaving the relationship. If they have contact with SafeNet, they are 75 percent less likely to be killed,” said Robyn Young, Director of Domestic Violence Services, SafeNet.

Robyn Young is the Director of Domestic Violence Services at SafeNet. She says SafeNet helps nearly 2,000 domestic violence victims per year.

SafeNet has a 24 hour crisis hotline at 454-8161.