The LAP is initiated when a trained officer arrives at the scene of a domestic call—or when a community professional believes a victim of abuse may be in danger—and assesses the victim’s situation. If there is any doubt about the risk of homicide a victim may be facing, the officer or community professional will ask the victim to answer a list of eleven questions known as the Lethality Screen for First Responders. If the victim’s response to the questions indicates an increased risk for homicide, the officer or community professional states he/she is going to place a phone call to the local 24-hour domestic violence hotline to seek advice and encourages the victim to speak with the specially trained hotline advocate. Talking on the phone is always the victim’s decision.
The Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Action Alliance are partnering to provide training for trainers to Virginia communities that would like to implement a Lethality Assessment Program.
Together we have reviewed numerous programs to improve the community response to domestic violence—and specifically to reduce homicides. We are in agreement that the Lethality Assessment Program—Maryland Model is an effective tool, and we believe that it can be effectively implemented in communities throughout Virginia. Therefore we are working together to provide the training that communities will need to replicate this program. The
Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Virginia Office of the Attorney General (OAG), and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (the Alliance), have formed the LAP Core Planning Team and have come together to train and implement the Lethality Assessment Program – Maryland Model (LAP) in new jurisdictions throughout Virginia, to provide technical assistance and support to jurisdictions already trained and implementing, and to collaborate on improvements to LAP.