A state panel on domestic violence homicides recently released its recommendations on preventing future violence. Tragically, roughly half of all homicides in Maine continue to be perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member of the victim. This rate and our state’s rate of domestic violence assaults are both much higher than the national average.

As a state representative, I serve on the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which considers measures to help victims of crimes — especially people who are victims of domestic violence. As the statistics show, protecting them and preventing domestic violence is often a matter of life and death.

The panel’s report recognizes the important efforts of law enforcement, advocates and communities to prevent domestic violence. It also highlights areas that demand our action, including facilitating training and supporting collaboration among those best positioned to help and support victims. I am committed to working with my colleagues and others to keep families safe and end abuse in our state.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please know that resources are available. In Kennebec and Somerset counties, the Family Violence Project has advocates that can help with safety planning, information and support. The organization also offers 24/7 support through its free, confidential helpline at 1-877-890-7788. You can also find more resources at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence’s website, www.mcedv.org/need-help.

Rep. Catherine Nadeau

D-Winslow