CCADV Recognizes 10 Years of Lethality Assessment Program

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Today, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) released its 2020 – 2021 update report on its Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). September marks the 10th anniversary of Connecticut’s rollout of LAP, a specialized risk assessment tool utilized by police during incidents of intimate partner violence that determines the survivor’s risk of fatal violence and immediately connects those in high danger situations with an advocate at one of CCADV’s 18 member organizations.

Over the past ten years (between September 2012 and August 2022), over 75,000 screens have been conducted at the scene of an intimate partner violence incident, with 39,806 (53%) of those screens being deemed “high danger,” and 23,154 survivors entering services with their local CCADV member organization following a screen.

“I am tremendously proud of the efforts put forth over the past 10 years through the Lethality Assessment Program to ensure that survivors get connected to life-saving support and services,” said Daniel Cargill, Director of Law Enforcement Services, CCADV. “It is thanks to the collaboration between law enforcement, CCADV’s 18 member organizations, and other criminal justice and community-based stakeholders that survivors of intimate partner violence have been provided with the critical information they need to make informed-decisions about their own safety.”

Connecticut’s LAP is modeled after the original Maryland Lethality Assessment Program created by nationally recognized femicide expert, Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins University, whose study of 2,500 intimate partner homicides has been the standard in identifying potential lethal behaviors in violent intimate partner relationships across the country. The three-pronged intervention process includes law enforcement screening a survivor at the scene of an intimate partner violence incident, connecting those who score high danger directly to an advocate at one of CCADV’s 18 member organizations, and discussing the possibility of pursuing additional charges based on criminal acts indicated on the LAP screen with the survivor.

“LAP screens are a well-vetted, proven and very important tool that our officers possess in helping our community members who may be at risk for intimate partner violence,” said Chief Donald Anderson of the Darien Police Department. “The program assists in quickly assessing imminent potential threats and then effectively connecting involved parties to support groups and agencies, often times during the person’s most difficult time in a relationship and exactly when it is needed most. The timely application of the LAP may well be the intervention needed for a person to receive a “roadmap” to leave a dangerous relationship and potentially save a life.”

The 2020 – 2021 LAP update shows numbers consistent with previous years. Of the 12,872 screens conducted over the two-year period, 55% were deemed to be a high danger risk for serious injury or fatality. Approximately 46% or 5,934 of those survivors facing the high danger risk spoke to a domestic violence advocate while the police officer was still on the scene. Others likely chose to make the call after the police officer left the scene as a total of 7,528 survivors who received a LAP screen eventually entered services with their local CCADV member organization.

Said Cargill, "The connection to services, no matter when the survivor chooses to engage in them, is the critical component and ultimate goal of LAP."

Said Debra Greenwood, President & CEO, “Since the implementation of the Lethality Assessment Program in the Greater Bridgeport region, the collaborations and training opportunities with law enforcement have not only strengthened the partnership between The Center for Family Justice and local police but have provided additional safety measures for those impacted by intimate partner violence. The coordinated response provides greater opportunities to work together in the best interest of survivors and their children.”

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