GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- As High Point Police officers were investigating a deadly domestic dispute in the city Thursday afternoon, anti-domestic violence leaders from all over the state were gathered at a conference in Greensboro.
The sad coincidence accentuates the need to continue addressing domestic and sexual violence across the state. Dr. Christine Murray with UNCG's counseling department organized the Innovations in Domestic and Sexual Violence Research and Practice Conference for the second year in a row.
She invited academic researchers, victim advocates, law enforcement officials and agency representatives from all over North Carolina to gather for the two-day conference Thursday and Friday on UNCG's campus.
"I think even people who don't necessarily know they have a personal connection often do have a personal connection to domestic violence or sexual violence," Dr. Murray pointed out.
Greensboro Police investigated the deaths of 11 men and women related to domestic violence in 2013. That number does not include the death of a fetus in one of the murders.
The victims range in age, gender and race. They were all killed by someone they knew.
Police say Guilford County school teacher Laurissa Armstrong was killed by her estranged husband. 14-year-old Maurice Edmonds was shot by his mother. Police arrested Guanghui Lei for allegedly killing his wife, Yan Wu and his pregnant sister, Bi Fang Liu. Those are just a few of the cases that touched the hearts of people across the community and prompted numerous vigils and memorials last year.
"It bothers everyone the high number of cases of domestic violence we've seen this year, particularly the fatalities," pointed out Tom Campbell, president and CEO of Family Service of the Piedmont. "But it does bring attention that it's a problem that we're still working to resolve and we still have a long ways to go."
Campbell is attending the conference at UNCG and added, "Family Service serves 6,000 domestic violence clients every year and most of them are success stories."
Dr. Murray believes they'll see more success stories with conferences like Innovations, which allow for researchers and practitioners to collaborate. "This is something that is sort of on the cutting edge in terms of bringing together people who are from research backgrounds and practice backgrounds. and really bringing together a multidisciplinary perspective."
"A conference like this and the research going on really helps us see why we're doing [our work] and the difference that we're making," added Campbell.
The High Point investigation is still developing. Police confirmed the victim was a female and a man is in custody.