October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Fairfax County Launches New Assessment Tool
Every month in Fairfax County, domestic violence hotlines receive over 240 calls, victims request 64 family abuse protective orders, 13 families escape to an emergency domestic violence shelter, and police arrest roughly 160 people for domestic violence-related offenses.
Domestic violence is typically a pattern of coercive behaviors used by an individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate, dating, or familial relationship.
Forms of domestic violence may be criminal (e.g. physical assault or stalking) or not (e.g. verbal abuse or financial control).
In a new effort to help reduce domestic violence crimes and quickly connect victims with services they need, Fairfax County has adopted a new Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). The LAP is a screening tool that helps police officers recognize the level of risk for danger while they are on sight of a domestic-violence-related call for help. The tool helps high risk victims, who are shown to be unlikely to seek services, to confidential, community-based services immediately after the crime.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler and Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Director, Ina Fernández launched the program at a news conference held at the Fairfax County Historic Courthouse on Thursday, October 1.
All police officers who patrol Fairfax County were given LAP training in Spring 2015 and the program was implemented on July 1, 2015. Initial results for July and August LAP screening tool use include the following:
- Over half of the cases were determined to be high-risk
- 33% of the high-risk cases involved a firearm
- 64% of the cases involved a history of strangulation
- 55% of the cases involved a history of stalking
Partners for the LAP include: Fairfax County Police Department, Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and local nonprofits Shelter House Inc. and Bethany House of Northern Virginia
Together, we’re making a difference. Help break the cycle of domestic violence in our community. Learn more.
For more information on Domestic Violence Awareness Month Activities, please check http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/domesticviolence/#Announcements.