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Domestic violence a factor in many mass shootings

California suffers from gun violence like the rest of the nation. When researchers define mass shootings as incidents that involve four or more victims, domestic violence emerges as a contributing factor in the majority of cases.

The organization EveryTown analyzed gun violence statistics nationwide between January 2009 and July 2015 and determined domestic violence played a clear role in 76 percent of mass shootings. Killing sprees within families kill women, children and bystanders, and women account for a full 50 percent of the victims. Their intimate partners or ex-partners typically escalate to murder after being charged with other domestic violence offenses.

Victims often had endured emotional and physical abuse prior to a shooting. Threats to children and pets are a common form of control exerted by abusers. Frequently, a lack of money for housing holds victims back from escaping the situation. Abuse may even go unreported because of the victim's fear of violence. When the abusive partner has access to a gun, the other partner and sometimes the children face a greatly increased chance of being killed. Overall, the United States leads the world in domestic violence fatalities. The chance that a woman will be killed in this country is 11 times higher than in other countries, according to some reports.

A person threatened by a domestic partner could begin the process of escaping abuse by getting a restraining order. An attorney could explain the evidence requirements for qualifying for the court-ordered protection. When abuse can be documented, then the attorney could file the request with the court and advocate for the victim's needs before a judge. Going forward, an attorney might need to help the person renew the order or offer advice on how to notify police when it needs to be enforced against an individual.

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