AUGUSTA — While Maine has one of the lowest murder rates in the country, many of the ones that occur in Maine are classified as domestic violence homicides.
On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Janet Mills told her story of domestic violence during a news conference about domestic violence murders.
She said years ago a man who she loved held a gun to her head while he was in a drunken rage.
“I will never forget that night. And I was one of the lucky ones. Many, many others were not so lucky. It was one of the reasons I first entered public service,” she said.
In 2018 and 2019, 42 murders were committed in the state and 18 of those were labeled as domestic violence murders
A report on domestic violence murder released Wednesday split the victims into two categories — intimate partner violence and familial violence.
“They’re frequently people who have been suffering and finding their way without supports,” said Francine Stark, executive director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
According to the Domestic Abuse Homicide Report, 40 percent of the murderers used guns to kill their victims.
Mills said, “Five children under the age of 10 are among the domestic homicide victims listed in this biennial report.”
The report said there are ways for people to help someone they believe is in an abusive relationship.
“People call us all the time, but only because someone has encouraged them to do it,” Stark said.
The report said during 2018 and 2019 one person committed suicide after years of abuse.
The report says while much has been done to raise awareness of domestic violence during the past 20 years, it said much can still be done.
Anyone struggling with the impacts of an abusive partner and needing some support can call 1-866-834-4357.