AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Physically abused by his father as a boy, Maine Gov. Paul LePage is using his weekly radio address to refocus attention on domestic violence following two recent shootings he believes underscore a disturbing trend.
One of the shootings, in Hampden, involved a man who killed his girlfriend before taking his own life; the other involved a Waldoboro woman charged with killing her boyfriend before a failed attempt on her own life.
This year's Domestic Violence Report reveals a record number of perpetrators committing suicide after killing loved ones, LePage said Saturday. The report said 70 percent of offenders had a history of suicide threats or attempts and that in two-thirds of those cases perpetrators killed one or more family members before committing suicide.
It's important for people to take any suicide threat seriously and to have a discussion with law enforcement or a health professional about access to firearms, LePage said.
"Suicidal thoughts or attempts may be an indicator of the risk of future violence toward victims, and the link between suicide among batterers and increased risk of homicide continues to be minimized or unrecognized by many clinicians and the general public," the governor said.
LePage, who was abused by his father as a boy to the point where he ran away from home, began calling attention to domestic abuse a year ago when he used a radio address to encourage residents to have a "zero" tolerance for it and to not remain silent about abusive relationships.
On Saturday, he reminded listeners that there are resources available, including Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, with whom he closely works.
"The only way we can eliminate this violence is to let our voices be heard. And what needs to be said is that this abuse is socially unacceptable," LePage said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.