Recent statistics have compounded one of the most disturbing family law issues in Texas. The Texas Council on Family Violence reported that 158 died in domestic violence incidents in the state last year. This is the highest number of cases since the council’s yearly reports began 25 years ago and constituted a 20 percent increase from the cases reported in 2014.

The council found that 78 percent of domestic violence victims were killed in their homes. Of these victims, 37 percent tried to end their relationships. Over half of the victims were between 20 and 39 years-old. The youngest victim was 16, while the oldest fatality was 93-years-old.

Only five percent of the victims ever sought assistance from the police or a family violence program. These figures are similar to national statistics. One-third of all the women in the world are domestic violence victims, which is usually caused by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence deaths included a 41-year-old victim, who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide shooting in Longview in Feb. 2015. Following reports of loud noises, police conducted a welfare check and found the bodies. Two daughters survived their parents.

In May 2015, a man stabbed and killed his former girlfriend in the bedroom of their home in Franklin County. He then called law enforcement and confessed. The perpetrator had a history of domestic violence with his ex-wife and other family members.

He was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment. The victim is survived by three sons and two daughters.

In Jan. 2015, a 21-year-old shot his ex-girlfriend in her car on a city street in Franklin County. A witness contacted the police after hearing the gunshots and crashing into a utility pole. The victim tried to end their relationship, but the suspect convinced her to meet him. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Family violence victims or other victims of serious disputes need protection. Additionally, leaving a relationship or home can pose problems on child support and other financial needs. Legal representation can aid victims with protecting their rights and utilizing their protections provided under Texas law.