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Lethality Assessment

Lethality Assessment

What is the LAP?

The Lethality Assessment Program—Maryland Model (LAP), created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) in 2005, is an innovative strategy to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries. It provides an easy and effective method for law enforcement and other community professionals—such as health care providers, clergy members, case workers, and court personnel—to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners, and immediately connect them to the local domestic violence service program. The LAP is a multi-pronged intervention that consists of a standardized, evidence-based lethality assessment instrument and accompanying referral protocol that helps first responders make a differentiated response that is tailored to the unique circumstances of High-Danger victims.

How does the LAP Work?

The LAP is initiated when a trained officer arrives at the scene of a domestic call—or when a community professional believes a victim of abuse may be in danger—and assesses the victim’s situation. If there is any doubt about the risk of lethality a victim may be facing, the officer or community professional will ask the victim to answer an evidence-based series of eleven questions known as the Lethality Screen for First Responders. If the victim’s response to the questions indicates an increased risk for homicide, the officer or community professional states he/she is going to place a phone call to the local 24-hour domestic violence hotline to seek advice and encourages the victim to speak with the specially trained hotline advocate. Talking on the phone is always the victim’s decision.

The Lethality Screen is a field tool adapted from Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell’s Danger Assessment, a screening instrument used by counselors and clinicians to assess a victim’s risk of homicide or severe re-assault. To learn more about Dr. Campbell’s pioneering research in the field of intimate partner homicide, please visit http://www.dangerassessment.org/.

What other benefits has the LAP created?

An important by-product of the LAP has been improved partnerships and collaboration among law enforcement officers and other community practitioners and advocates. New guidelines were created for hotline advocates who speak to High-Danger victims and special protocols have been developed for health care providers. LAP best practices now include follow-up telephone calls and team officer-advocate home visits to victims to provide support and encouragement to use program services, and the screening of victims in court prior to or following temporary protective order hearings.

 

The Lethality Assessment Program—Maryland Model is considered intellectual property and protected by copyright. The use of the materials without the express prior written consent of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence is strictly prohibited and subject to all applicable laws regarding copyrights.