Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lethality Assessment Program

In May we were able to work with the Safe Family Coalition to deliver cookies to all of the police officers that have been a part of the Lethality Assessment Project (LAP) as a way to say thank you for their commitment to those who are impacted by domestic violence.

The LAP was started as a pilot project with the cities of Lee’s Summit, Grandview, Raytown and Kansas City police departments. The police partner with the local domestic violence agency in carrying out the program, which is based on research on lethality for battered women.

The program is simple: when police respond to a domestic violence scene, they ask the victim a series of research-based questions. The way the victim answers these questions can determine the level of lethality for that victim. Based on the answers, the police officers will talk to the victims about safety and the concern that they have for the victim.

The officers then call our hotline and speak to an advocate with the goal of getting the victim to speak to the advocate. They will safety plan, discuss resources - such as shelter - and to make a follow up appointment to further discuss the situation.

The program has worked extremely well. The pilot project ended in October of 2009, but all participating departments have continued with the program. We have also added the Blue Springs police department to the list of participating departments.

We know that only 3% of domestic violence homicide victims had ever availed themselves to services prior to their deaths. We, as DV programs, have worked to reach this group of victims but have not had much success. Through this program, we are able to reach this very high risk group of people.

We are grateful for the participation of all of the police departments, the administration and the officers that complete the surveys. With the support of the officers on the street, we are working to save lives.

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