Domestic Violence Calls: N.C. Will Soon Be Using the Lethality Assessment Protocol Statewide

Police Line
Image: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons

The N.C. Department of Justice is tackling the state’s domestic homicide rate with statewide trainings in one of the only evidence-based tools deemed ‘promising practice’ by the federal DOJ.

Last month, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a new statewide strategy for responding to domestic violence calls.

Law enforcement officers across the state are now being trained on using the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP), a program originally developed by researchers in Maryland to help reduce the incidence of escalating domestic attacks — which all too often end in homicide.

Just this year, WRAL reports, 44 people in North Carolina have died as the result of domestic homicide.

So many of these tragedies can be prevented if we use the right tools,” Stein said in a statement.

Indeed, “nearly half of abusers who kill their partners were arrested the year before,” the statement continues, “and almost a third of victims had contacted the police.”

The LAP provides the right tools by not only giving first responders a quick and accurate way to assess a victim’s risk for further violence (a copy of the Lethality Screen is available below) but also by teaching them how to effectively communicate this danger.

Victims are then directed to service providers in the community who can help get them to safety.

Communicating with domestic violence survivors

A 2013 Pitt County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office presentation includes an example of how to effectively communicate with at-risk domestic violence survivors.

Thirty-seven states now use the LAP to get victims out of harm’s way. North Carolina has been among these for several years, with six counties implementing their own programs. The N.C. Department of Justice is expanding these initiatives with statewide trainings.

Review and download a copy of the Domestic Violence Lethality Screen for First Responders:

Domestic Violence Lethality Screen by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

Learn how other communities have implemented LAP and how yours can get started:

d1-25 by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

Read about Spokane’s implementation of LAP:

Spokane County Agencies Unite to Stop Domestic Violence

About the author

Avatar

Sarah Sinning

Sarah Sinning is Associate Editor of EfficientGov.com. She is based in North Carolina.