Law enforcement officers were the first group that implemented the LAP, in partnership with domestic violence service programs. In one study, 44% of perpetrators of intimate partner homicide had been arrested in the year prior to committing the homicide. Additionally, almost one-third of victims of intimate partner homicide had contacted the police in the year prior to being killed.
The LAP seeks to be a bridge between victims who officers encounter in the field and services that are life-saving, and that victims may not have otherwise reached out for on their own.
The LAP offers officers a clear, evidence-based assessment tool, the Lethality Screen, to identify victims of intimate partner violence who are in danger of homicide. Officers no longer only have their gut, or past experiences, to guess when a situation may be highly dangerous.
The Lethality Screen offers a “common language” to be able to communicate a victim’s danger level across departments and systems, including with the domestic violence service program (DVSP).
It gives officers “something else” to do, beyond arresting the perpetrator, or giving the victim a brochure. With the LAP protocol, officers put victims who are assessed at High-Danger for being killed by their intimate partners in touch with services that are protective. Additionally, as the criteria for the administration of the Lethality Screen does not rise to the level of probable cause, the LAP can be used even in instances when an arrest is not being made.
Whenever a tragic incident happens, agencies are always worried whether their responding officers are liable. The LAP, when implemented faithfully to the model, assures officers that they are taking all steps necessary and possible to prevent individual lethal or near-lethal incidents.