The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence’s (MNADV) Lethality Assessment Program-Maryland Model (LAP) was featured on ABC2 News, WMAR-TV in an In Focus segment. Alicia Bickoff, Program Manager at MNADV provided an overview of the LAP, it’s purpose, and research behind it.
The LAP is a three-pronged protocol where a first responder, such as a police officer or emergency room nurse, administers an 11 question Lethality Screen to victims of domestic violence. These are evidence-based questions stemming from Dr. Campbell’s research at Johns Hopkins University and assess the risk level that a victim may be killed by their abuser. “We’re an empowerment-based model,” Bickoff says, “so it’s 100% up to that victim whether or not they want to participate… We want this to be their choice. [They are used to] having their choices taken away from them by their abusers,” and the LAP is one step towards putting the control back into the victim’s hands.
If the victim screens in as High-Danger, then the victim is linked to a domestic violence hotline. The advocate provides immediate support and connection to the local domestic violence program and their life-saving services. “The important part of the protocol,” Bickoff says, “is that direct connection to local domestic violence services when the incident is actually happening because those victims who are at the greatest risk of being killed aren’t the victims who are going to be walking into local programs on their own.” Research supports this claim, showing that only 4% of abused victims had used a domestic violence hotline or shelter within the year prior to being killed by an intimate partner (Sharps, P. W., et al., 2001).