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Lethality Assessment Program Maryland Model For First Responders: Learning to Read the Danger Signs

NCJ Number
Date Published
19 pages
This report presents the objectives and procedures of Maryland's Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), whose goal is to prevent domestic violence homicides, serious injury, and repeated assaults by encouraging more victims to use the support and shelter services of domestic violence programs.
The LAP is a two-pronged intervention process that features a research-based lethality screening tool and an accompanying protocol referral that provides direction for law enforcement, medical personnel, clergy, social workers, and others in initiating appropriate action based on the results of the screening process. If the victim's response to the screening questions indicates an increased risk for homicide, the responder initiates a protocol referral by privately telling the victim she/he is in danger and that victims in similar situations have been killed. Options are then offered for referrals designed to ensure the victim's safety. This publication contains the procedures for the Domestic Violence Lethality Screen for First Responders, with a separate section of the publication describing how to initiate the protocol (3 x 5 card for officer use). This is followed by a copy of the report to the Lethality Assessment Committee concerning the pilot of the Lethality Screen for First Responders and the protocol. Statistical and status reports on the LAP pertain to the number of cases in which it has been used and the percentage of assessments of "dangerousness." Other information includes an outline of LAP best practices, a sample of Lethality Assessment Newsletters, and copies of news stories on the LAP.