HOUSTON (KIAH) – A 2023 University of Houston study on domestic violence found that in the Houston area intimate partner homicides doubled in three years and calls to shelters rose past pre-pandemic levels.

The study also found a decline in calls for shelter during the pandemic, likely due to victims in lockdown with their abusers and a fear of developing COVID-19 while in a shelter.

The institute’s findings are detailed in a February 2023 Report to the Community. Researchers combined data from the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office and found there were 32 intimate partner violence homicides in 2019, 46 in 2020, 60 in 2021 and 64 in 2022.

Other key findings:

  • Harris County has 330 shelter beds, while New York City, with twice the population, has more than ten times as many shelter beds, at 3,500.
  • The number of households (generally mother and children) requesting housing increased from 956 in 2021 to 1307 in 2022, not including carryover.
  • Black women made up 52% of female intimate partner violence homicide victims, though they comprise only 20% of women in Harris County.
  • While women make up the majority of intimate partner violence homicide victims, men make up the majority of victims of other forms of family violence.
  • Guns accounted for 73% of identified intimate partner violence deaths over 2019-2022.