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Domestic Violence Advocates Request Funding to Identify High-Risk Victims

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The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition is asking for nearly $900,000 to implement training for police officers who respond to domestic violence calls. The Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) helps law enforcement identify victims of domestic violence who have a high risk of being seriously injured or killed by their partner.

“It gets law enforcement and victim advocates to speak the same language and use the same 11 questions, and then if they find someone who has a high risk of intimate partner homicide, they connect them directly with victim services,” says Jenn Oxborrow, executive director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

She says jurisdictions in about 30 states have implemented the standardized protocol and have seen significant drops in domestic violence homicides.

According to the UDVC, 44% of homicides in Utah in 2015 were the result of domestic violence, and many police departments support its funding request. Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross says it could help reduce the rate of domestic violence homicides by up to 30%. 

“Of all the programs I’ve been involved in in law enforcement dealing with trying to prevent homicides, I’m not aware of any other single program that could have that potential of reducing that type of violence in our community,” Ross says.

The Bountiful Police Department is one of a few Utah jurisdictions that received LAP training last year. If approved, the funding would help train an additional 500 police officers and help provide services to the high-risk victims identified by police.

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