LAP Impact in Communities
To improve response to victims.
The Lethality Screen and accompanying protocol improve the way law enforcement officers and the community deal with domestic violence across the nation. Officers often leave the scene of a domestic violence call for service and wish there were more they could do for the victim. The LAP allows officers to make a tangible difference in the lives of victims and their families, even when arrests are not made.
To educate and empower victims.
Simply by asking the Lethality Screen questions, the officer educates the victim about the predictors that indicate that she/he is at increased risk of homicide. The hotline advocate gives further education to the victim, as to how to remain safe, what options are available, and what resources are in the community. The victim is then empowered to make choices that increase her/his own safety and decrease the risk of homicide. Even victims who are not assessed as High-Danger at the time of the call for service and those who are not ready to seek help, receive valuable information from the Lethality Screen; it affords them insight into the warning signs that could indicate that their abusive relationship is escalating in severity, and could lead to death.
To respond more strategically to High-Danger situations.
The LAP provides officers and other professionals an evidence-based tool for assessing the dangerousness of a victim’s situation, and an accompanying procedure that immediately connects those victims who are at high risk of severe re-assault or death to a local domestic violence service program (DVSP). The LAP is founded on the belief that domestic violence is variable, and that domestic violence fatalities are predictable and preventable. Thus, the LAP is an innovation in safety promotion and homicide prevention that equips law enforcement agencies and DVSPs to respond more proactively to domestic violence in their communities through a standardized lethality assessment instrument and differentiated response procedure tailored to the victim’s unique circumstances.
To enhance COOPERATION, COMMUNICATION, and COORDINATION between Law Enforcement Agencies and DVSPs.
The relationship between the law enforcement agencies and DVSPs is a key component to a successful response to victims who are at high risk. Without cooperation, communication, and coordination, law enforcement agencies and DVSPs cannot effectively identify victims who are in potentially lethal situations and properly connect them to safety and services, which are proven to save lives. Law enforcement and DVSPs need to understand that the safety of victims is best-achieved by their mutual willingness to work together. The LAP increases the insight of the criminal justice and social services systems regarding best practices in intimate partner homicide reduction.