In the first six months of 2015, there were 13 domestic violence related homicides in Utah, an average of two preventable deaths each month.
“We must remember, these are not just numbers, they are human lives. They are mothers, daughters, sisters and children whose lives should have been protected and saved,” said Chief Greg Butler, Woods Cross Police Department.
In a proactive attempt to prevent domestic violence related homicides in their community, in 2014, the Woods Cross Police Department received training and began utilizing the Lethality Assessment Protocol, an evidence-based tool that helps law enforcement and community professionals assess risk of serious injury or homicide by an intimate partner. Additionally, the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) connects those at risk to local services.
Upon first use, the Woods Cross Police Department and, more importantly, a Utah family, immediately experienced the preventive and protective benefit of the LAP. This and similar outcomes ignited a spirited collaboration between law enforcement and victim services professionals during the 2015 General Session of the Utah State Legislature. Their testimonies about the LAP’s effectiveness and the demonstrated need for additional resources resulted in one-time funding, in the amount of $693,500, for the LAP Pilot Project in four Utah communities.
Today, national experts from United States Department of Justice and Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence kicked off the Pilot Project by providing LAP introductory and train-the-trainer sessions to more than 70 law enforcement and victim services professionals from across Utah.
During this next year, those who attended the train-the-trainer session will provide the LAP training to law enforcement and victim services professionals in their communities. Pilot program partners include Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (Logan), Safe Harbor (Kaysville), South Valley Services (South Jordan), Canyon Creek (Cedar City), Cache County Sheriff’s Office, Woods Cross Police Department, Bountiful Police Department, West Jordan Police Department, Cedar City Police Department, Enoch Police Department and Iron County Sheriff’s Office.
Confidential support, information and resources are available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
ABOUT THE LETHALITY ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
The Lethality Assessment Program – Maryland Model (LAP) was created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence in 2005. LAP is an evidence-based program designed to assess and prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries.