State Homicide Reduction Plan
As part of the Services – Training – Officers – Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment (DVPT) Council issues a statewide implementation plan that determines priorities and guides decisions on program and project funding. The most recent plan was issued in March 2017 and sets forth an identified goal to reduce domestic violence related homicides by 10% by 2020. The methods by which this goal will be achieved include expansion of the Lethality Assessment protocols, Domestic Violence Fatality Review teams, and intensive training of affiliated professionals who work with those affected by domestic violence.
Lethality Assessment Project
The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) represents a collaborative partnership where members of law enforcement use a research based lethality assessment screening tool with victims of domestic violence, and connect those individuals determined to be at high risk for lethal level violence with the domestic violence program serving their community. The goal of the LAP is to prevent domestic violence homicides, serious injury, and re-assault by encouraging more victims to use the shelter, counseling, advocacy, and support services of domestic violence programs.
The LAP protocol directs members of law enforcement responding on-scene to a domestic call to conduct an 11 item lethality screen with the victim. When the protocol indicates that the victim is at high risk of lethal level violence, the officer makes immediate contact with the domestic violence program. The victim is then encouraged, but not required, to speak with the domestic violence program representative. The responding officer and the domestic violence program representative work as partners to provide the victim with safety planning and resource information.
Indiana was selected as a pilot site for the LAP’s national launch and evaluation project in 2009. Members of Law Enforcement in Allen, Grant and Wabash counties in collaboration with the YWCA Northeast in Ft. Wayne and Hands of Hope in Marion initiated the project in June 2009.
Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative
The Indiana General Assembly enacted legislation enabling the creation of community domestic violence fatality review teams in 2003. The legislation informs the convention and duties of community-based teams, and requires ICADV to generate a statewide fatality review report to identify fatalities attributed to domestic violence, describe the work of community-based teams, and establish statewide DV fatality prevention recommendations.
Domestic violence fatality review is a deliberative process undertaken by community stakeholders with the goal of reducing or eliminating this extreme and devastating form of violence by learning as much as possible from the circumstances of each individual death. Team members collect and review data to get a longitudinal overview of the circumstances and experiences of the victim and perpetrator prior to the death. They construct a timeline identifying interventions, red flags, and gaps in services in order to identify all possible opportunities for prevention and intervention across the life spans of the victim and perpetrator.
Rather than seeking to fault individuals or agencies for a domestic violence fatality, review teams operate on a community accountability model and work collaboratively to create safer systems. The team then develops action plans for implementing the recommendations generated through the review process.
Publication of the Lethality Assessment Protocol Reference Cards for law enforcement officers is supported by Grant No. STOP-2023-00046 and STOPLEA-2022-00023 awarded by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) with funds from the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICJI or the DOJ.
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