Attorney General Jim Hood says Mississippi has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the country. He says the state ranked 34th in the number of women murdered by men - a significant improvement from the prior ranking of 5th in the country. Although proud of the progress, Hood says the statistics can be questionable.
"These are the lowest numbers that we've had since they began keeping records in 1997. Our stats are not as reliable. This is the best rule of thumb that we have, and this is done by the Violence Policy Center. So, we'll go up and down from time to time, but we're headed in the right direction," says Hood.
Selika Corley is the Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Hind's County Sheriff's Department. She says although homicides in domestic violence are seeming to decrease, incidents are still taking place.
"It's often very under-reported. Stats even show that a woman, or a man, will be victimized and not come forth until the seventh, maybe even the eighth incident has occurred," Corley says.
However, Corley does admit to seeing lesser incidents of domestic violence. She says it allows more opportunities to offer services, and education on domestic abuse.
"I can actually say that it's been a significant decrease. People know that the services are there, the services are confidential, and they get the help that they need. In all cases, they may not go through with the entire process but we still let them know that these services are still available even if they go back," says Corley.
Attorney General Jim Hood says he hopes partnerships with law enforcement help domestic abuse rates continue to drop.