At least 23 people, most of them women, died in Minnesota last year as a result of domestic violence, according to an annual report released Tuesday.
The Femicide Report, published by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women since 1989, uses media reports and police records to document homicides caused by current or former spouses or partners, and also offers recommendations for community response.
In 2014, at least 16 women and two men were killed by spouses and partners. Five friends, relatives or interveners also were slain in domestic violence incidents.
The deaths left 19 children without mothers, the report notes.
Last year's total is among the lowest recorded since the coalition began producing the report in the 1980s, and amounts to nearly 40 percent fewer such homicides than in 2013, when 38 slayings were counted. The report notes that annual numbers have fluctuated between the teens and the 40s.
Despite the drop, the coalition stressed the need for more resources for victims. It says that state funding for crime victim services has fallen by over 40 percent in the past 15 years.
The report says that one of the challenges of preventing and intervening in domestic violence is the "complexity of issues that exist within individuals' lives and relationships," such as mental illness, poverty and chemical dependency.
To successfully address domestic violence, the report suggests taking a holistic approach to helping victims.
Of the 23 people listed in the 2014 report, nine were killed in the Twin Cities suburbs, eight in outstate Minnesota and six in either Minneapolis or St. Paul.
They include Kelly Phillips, 48, who was slain in August outside an Arden Hills gas station by Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, a former romantic and business partner; Miranda Schunk, 38, who was fatally stabbed last month at her St. Paul apartment, allegedly by an ex-boyfriend; and three members of the Crowley family, whose bodies were found last week in their Apple Valley home.
Officials believe that sometime in December, David Crowley, 29, killed his wife, Komel, 28, and 5-year-old daughter, Raniya, before killing himself.