Abused Women Who Used Domestic Violence Services Almost Never Victims of Murder

Source Newsroom: Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

Newswise — Nearly 2,000 people are murdered by domestic partners each year in the United States. It is a sobering statistic, especially in the face of groundbreaking education and support programs proven to prevent intimate-partner violence. “Abused women who used domestic violence services were almost never the victim of murder or attempted murder,” said Jacquelyn C. Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON).

The issue has been getting that word out. Through a U.S. Department of Justice grant, JHUSON, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center of Massachusetts, and the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence will work together to do just that. Each brings a proven or promising model for identifying those at high risk of violence by their partners and connecting them with services that could save their lives.

• The Danger Assessment Tool is the risk predictor most frequently used to assess the likelihood of intimate partner homicide. It was developed by Campbell in 1985 as a method of working directly with victims of domestic violence to understand their risks and plan for safety.

• The Maryland Lethality Assessment Program uses the Danger Assessment Tool to screen victims at crime scenes, at protective order hearings, and in hospital emergency rooms. If a victim screens in as high risk for serious injury or homicide, the first responder immediately calls the local 24-hour domestic violence hotline and encourages the victim to talk to a counselor.

• The Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) created by the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center includes representatives from victim services, probation, law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, batterer intervention programs, and local hospitals. The team uses the Danger Assessment Tool to identify victims at the greatest risk of serious injuries or homicide and then develops individualized intervention plans to interrupt the cycle of violence.

The Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative grant, or HPI, is administered by the Office on Violence Against Women as part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which faces a fight for renewal in Congress this year.

“This funding will allow us to educate others on how to administer the Danger Assessment Tool to victims/survivors and help to save lives,” said Campbell, Anna D. Wolf chair at JHUSON and national director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars.

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