The Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena will be hosting an installation of over 100 human silhouettes this week. The human figures aren’t just an art project though, they are there to tell many tragic but true stories of domestic violence and death in Montana. Natalie Adorno with the Montana Law Enforcement Academy explains why they are on display.

“Each of these silhouettes represents a victim’s story and more over their tragic ending,” Adorno said. “When you walk by these figures and read their individual stories that are posted on their gold badges, you can’t help but be deeply moved by the lives that they lead. We need to honor these victim’s lives by continuing to educate all of our law enforcement officers, our tribal agencies and then of course our formal and informal sectors of our community as well.”

In 1999 the Montana Legislature passed a bill to track domestic violence deaths and study opportunities to address the problem in hopes of radically reducing the numbers by the year 2020. Sadly, the state doesn’t seem to be reducing the rate of family violence homicide, in fact, things appear to be worse.

“In the last two years we have had 26 violent interactions resulting in 43 deaths,” Adorno said. “These numbers are significantly higher than any other two year period since intimate partner homicide deaths began being tracked in the year 2000.”

Since the year 2000, at least 169 people have died from family violence homicides and most of those deaths have been women and children.