ST. PAUL — At least 21 Minnesotans died in domestic violence incidents in 2019, an annual report says.

The 2019 numbers are up from 14 deaths in 2018, according to a report released by Violence Free Minnesota.

The 21 deaths include at least 16 women who were killed by their current or former intimate partner, and at least five friends, family members or bystanders who were killed in domestic violence-related situations, according to the report. Additionally, at least 23 children lost a parent due to domestic violence. The majority of the deaths were caused by gunshot wounds, the report said.

The report has been published annually by Violence Free Minnesota for decades.

“After more than 30 years, the report’s purpose remains the same: to highlight the tremendous impact this loss of life has on our community and to push us to take greater action to end intimate partner violence, as we strive for a violence free Minnesota,” said Becky Smith, communications director for Violence Free Minnesota on Thursday.

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Smith said the number of deaths due to domestic violence varies from year to year, often with no clear explanation why, but that it has remained in the double digits for the past three decades.

So far in 2020, at least 22 people are believed to have been killed due to domestic violence in Minnesota. Smith said current factors such as the pandemic and economic instability may have played into the increase.

“If and when the number of victims killed due to intimate partner violence remain in the single digits, we will still say one is still too many,” Smith said.

The report found that people of color were disproportionately affected by domestic violence. Nineteen percent of those killed due to domestic violence in 2019 were Black, while Blacks make up less that 7 percent of the state population. Native Americans made up 14 percent of the 2019 deaths, while less than 1 percent of the Minnesota population is Native, the report said.

The report also outlines steps and recommendations to address domestic violence, such as implementing more training and resources in schools for children impacted by domestic violence, improving culturally responsive health care for victims and for the state legislature to invest an additional $20 million in preventing domestic and sexual violence.

“While the state of Minnesota has made important investments in crisis and advocacy services after violence occurs, Minnesota has not made a statewide investment in programming directed at changing the behavior of those who use violence,” said Katie Kramer, policy director of Violence Free Minnesota. “Only with sustained investment and changing perpetrator behavior, will we end domestic violence.”