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Roanoke Valley releases report on domestic violence deaths

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ROANOKE VALLEY (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke Valley is making changes to help reduce the likelihood of domestic homicides.

This comes after a report by the Roanoke Valley Family and Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review Team.

From 1999 to 2013, 99 deaths occurred as a result of domestic violence in the Roanoke Valley. The team comprised of various police departments, hospitals and community organizations reviewed 16 of those deaths.

"I would never say we didn't leave a review with heavy hearts," says Melissa Harper, team coordinator. "How could you not? These were people's friends, family, and co-workers and loved ones."

According to the report, the youngest victim was three years old, while a majority of the victims were women.

What was most alarming to some people was that none of the 15 victims asked for help from a local domestic violence center.

"People always believe things will get better and most victims who suffer violence like this, they very often say when it's good it's good," says Harper.

The report also listed recommendations like implementing a Lethality Assessment Tool among all law enforcement agencies. The tool is a set of 11 questions that can predict if a victim is at risk of further harm.

Interim Chief Jones says he's making changes because of the report.