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Freedom from Sexual Violence

Event: Police Departments’ Use of the Lethality Assessment Program

Police Departments’ Use of the Lethality Assessment Program
Jan
19

January 19, 2016 / 12:00-1:30 mountain time

Presented by: Jacqueline Campbell, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Jill Messing, School of Social Work at Arizona State University, and Beverly Patchell, College Of Nursing, University of Utah

Content: Calling the police is one of the most commonly employed help seeking strategies by women in abusive relationships, though domestic violence services, safety planning and shelter are more often rated as helpful by survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and have been shown to be more effective at reducing subsequent violence. The presenters conducted research to examine the effectiveness of the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP).

The LAP is a collaboration between police and social service providers consisting of 2 steps. First, a police officer responding to the scene of a domestic violence incident uses a brief 11-item risk assessment (the Lethality Screen) to identify victims at high risk of homicide. Second, women that screen in as high risk based on the Lethality Screen are put in immediate telephone contact with a collaborating social service provider who provides them with advocacy, safety planning and referral for services.

Women who participated in the LAP engaged in more help-seeking and experienced less violence 7 months post-intervention. The NIJ-funded study was the first rigorous evaluation of the LAP. While additional research needs to be conducted, the LAP demonstrates promise as an evidence informed collaborative police-social service intervention that increases survivors’ safety and empowers them toward decisions of self-care.

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