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Domestic violence-related deaths on the rise in Bexar County

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BEXAR COUNTY - Domestic violence related fatalities are on the rise in Bexar County.

So far this year, the number of people who've died from domestic related violence has more than doubled.

Fox San Antonio took a look at the problem and a possible solution.

"If he violates the protective order, he will be arrested," said Marta Pelaez, Director of The Battered Women's Shelter.

But the arrest may not be immediate and it may not happen before an act of violence is committed.

That was the case early Sunday morning in South Bexar County when investigators say Richard Rodriguez broke into his ex-girlfriend's home and stabbed her multiple times with a meat fork.

A protective order was issued against him back in August.

"I understand the skepticism of victims that may have been hurt in spite of having a protective order but I also have to speak on behalf of those who have been protected," Pelaez said.

Marta Pelaez says since January, the number of domestic violence related deaths has risen to 24 compared to 11 for all of last year.

She says protective orders are violated more often than you might think.

"If we assume if we're going to assume those 24 victims had protective orders, then 24 times that protective order was violated," Pelaez said.

State records show Bexar County judges signed 941 protective orders this year a whopping 15-percent of all protective orders issued in the state.

"That gives us a clear picture of what domestic violence is in our beloved San Antonio," Pelaez said.

Pelaez says while restraining orders are not 100% effective, they serve as a piece of the overall protective puzzle.

She recommends victims tell a trusted friend or neighbor about abuse and provide them a copy of the protective order.

It creates a paper trail for the victim if he or she is backed into a life or death situation.

"Absolutely it's part of the evidence that domestic violence existed," Pelaez said.

The average police response time in San Antonio is 6.9 minutes.

That's why experts recommend domestic violence victims have a plan to escape or defend themselves until police arrive.

If you're a victim of domestic violence, call the 24-hour hotline at (210) 733-8810.

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