Maine’s chance to predict, stop domestic violence homicides

Over the course of 20 years, Dorothy Giunta-Cotter’s husband, William, kidnapped her, beat her and strangled her with a telephone cord. He pushed her down a flight of stairs when she was pregnant. The day he hit one of their daughters repeatedly in the head, because he didn’t like what she was wearing, Dorothy took her and drove to a shelter in Maine. She feared William knew the network of shelters near their home in Amesbury, Mass., and thought she would be safer here.

Her story from 2002, detailed by Rachel Louise Snyder in the June 22 edition of The New Yorker, ends in the worst way.

It also propelled a change in Amesbury where multiple response agencies began to work together and focus on ways to remove domestic violence offenders from their situations before their actions turned lethal — instead of requiring victims to flee their homes and lives.

Learn how it worked — and how Maine is joining the effort — in this July 28 BDN editorial.

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