“There are a lot of very depressing statistics within,” said Maine Attorney General Janet Mills as she presented the 8th Report of the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel Jan. 28 at the Statehouse.

In 2008, 31 homicides occurred in Maine, 20 (65 percent) of which involved domestic violence. Of the 25 homicides in 2009 in Maine, 10 (35 percent) were domestic-violence-related.

Three red cutouts of human silhouettes representing murdered victims of domestic abuse were placed behind Mills, who advised couples who are breaking up and moving out: “Don’t go back alone, always ask for a police or law enforcement escort when breaking up.”

Lisa Marchese, assistant attorney general, reported in her introduction that “the end of a relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence. The majority of domestic-violence homicides occur when the batterer recognizes loss of control over their partner.”

Mills called for young males to “let steam off in the gym, not the house.”

She said Nascar heroes, baseball players, and music and movie stars need to send the message to boys and young men in Maine that “heroes don’t hit” and that “anger is normal, but violence is not.”

In the last two years, the panel reviewed 17 domestic violence cases that occurred from 2006 to 2008. The cases involved 16 victims and 16 perpetrators. Of the 16 victims, eight were male and eight were female. Of the 16 perpetrators, 15 were male and one was female. In the cases reviewed, 14 minor children lost one or both parents to domestic-violence homicide. Seven were present at the time of the homicide.

Of the 16 victims, nine were killed with firearms, four with knives, two by blunt-force trauma and one was strangled.

“Protection orders do save lives, also,” Mills said.

The panel made a number of observations and recommendations regarding the health-care system, the mental health system, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, firearms, the legal system and the media.

When asked what the current trends were with domestic-abuse homicides on a year-to-year basis, Mills replied, “We have never had a year when there were zero homicides, and that is the problem. That is the trend we want — zero.”

Anyone with domestic abuse issues may dial 866-834-4357, a toll-free, confidential number.

To read the entire report, click on the following link: : maine.gov/ag/dynld/documents/8th%20Report%20of%20the%20Maine%20Domestic%20Abuse%20Homicide%20Review%20Panel.pdf