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Domestic Violence Cases Rise In Number, Severity

District attorneys and child welfare officials say they're noticing a surge in the number — and severity — of domestic violence cases due in large part to the economic downturn.

Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating says the increase is staggering, as financial stresses take their toll on families.

"Over the last three months, we've had eight shaken-baby cases in a county," Keating says. "If you had three in a year it would be high for the whole year, and we've had eight in the last three months."

And Department of Children and Families commissioner Angelo McClain says the cases are getting more brutal.

On Friday, police arrested a pregnant Quincy woman for allegedly killing her 9-year-old daughter and fetus.

Thirty-eight-year-old Fang Chi Xue is being charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to murder.

Prosecutors say a medical examiner must determine whether the fetus was viable outside the womb before they can consider a second murder charge.

Xue is now undergoing a court-ordered mental evaluation.

WBUR's Matt Largey contributed to this report.

This program aired on April 18, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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