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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation, but nearly half of the homicides in the state in 2013 were the result of domestic violence.

A panel studied 21 cases of homicide that occurred from 2009 to 2013, looking for patterns and possible solutions. During a news conference Thursday, members of the panel emphasized the relationship between suicide and domestic violence homicide. Of the 21 cases the panel studied, 14 of the perpetrators exhibited signs of suicidal behavior before they committed murder. Seven of them killed themselves after the homicide.

The panel also highlighted the importance of law enforcement collaborating with advocates and behavioral health providers. They say high risk situations can turn deadly when violent behavior is overlooked because the perpetrator has mental or behavioral health problems.

The panel also applauded the passage of a bill in March that will help prevent perpetrators from contacting their victims while they are in jail waiting for bail to be set.

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