Lethality Assessment Program

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

Domestic Violence - Homicide Prevention Strategy

Associate Director, Laura Hermsen

Community Relations Director, Melissa Palfrey

The Lethality Assessment Program was developed by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) as an intimate partner homicide prevention strategy. This assessment is used by police officers to identify victims at the greatest risk of being killed. Family Advocates is trained to assist officers with this assessment work with local law enforcement to help implement this program in Iowa County in Wisconsin.

This assessment program was designed to connect victims with an advocate immediately following any domestic violence incident where there is a lethality risk. This encourages victims who may not normally reach out for help to speak with an advocate.

Victims are immediately connected with an advocate who help them understand the dangers and risks of being involved in a domestic violence situation. Advocates work with victims who choose to stay with their partners and with those who choose to leave. We are trained to help victims who stay to create safety plans and give them the tools needed to help eliminate/minimize any risks to their well-being.

Any victim will have access to Family Advocates' free services such as emergency/temporary shelter, individual counseling sessions and group counseling, medical advocacy, legal advocacy, and referrals to state agencies for assistance programs, and any other assistance we can provide to make the transition to a new home easier for the victim.

For more information on our domestic violence services or to receive help: https://www.familyadv.org/domestic-violence

From Lethality Assessments done in Maryland these are report findings:

53% of victim screens administered are high-danger

39% of victim screens administered are non-high danger

55% of high-danger victims agree to speak with a hotline advocate

31% of high-danger victims who speak with an advocate seek ongoing services

These baseline data percentages were determined by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, through gathering LAP data from Maryland law enforcement agencies and domestic violence programs between 2006-2013.

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