NPC Prosecutors Office

LEWISTON - In 2020, the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office and Nez Perce County Coroner’s Office reportedly saw a large increase in Domestic Battery/Assault and Suicide cases as compared to the three previous years. Last year the Prosecutor’s Office saw an 26% increase in Domestic Battery/Assault cases compared to 2017, 2018, and 2019. The cases jumped from an average of 56 per year to 71 cases in 2020. The Coroner’s Office had a rise of 32% in suicides in 2020 from a three-year average of 10, to 14 in 2020.

“It seems a new normal in society is increased pressure at home in family relations,” said Justin Coleman, Nez Perce County Prosecutor. “As a community, we need to watch for warning signs of domestic violence and suicides,” continued Coleman. Warning signs of Domestic Abuse could be:

  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them;
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, Demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people;
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school;
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses;
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with;
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol;
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions;
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets;
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace. Destroying your belongings or your home.

The coronavirus pandemic has also added stress on many individuals. Isolation, financial trouble, and family issues created by COVID-19 has changed many people’s lives. “Suicide is never the answer to your troubles,” said Josh Hall, Nez Perce County Coroner. There are resources for people who need mental help. Family and friends should be reminded to call 9-1-1 when someone is showing signs of suicidal behavior:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
  • Talking about being a burden to others;
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless;
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated;
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge;
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Together, we can make a difference. “There are resources for people who feel they have run out of hope. We can do better. If you need help from a domestic violence situation or you know someone is suicidal, please call for help,” said Hall.