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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Jun 15

Police Department Tests New Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy

Posted on June 15, 2016 at 8:11 AM by Communications Department

The Newport News Police Department, a nationally recognized leader in reducing domestic violence, is adopting another strategy to help prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries. The Lethality Assessment Protocol is an innovative, effective approach to domestic homicide prevention that helps first responders identify and properly handle domestic violence situations that could become fatal for a victim.
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Using this protocol, first responders are trained to use a standardized set of questions to assist them in identifying if a victim is at immediate risk of further harm. Questions such as "Has he/she ever threatened to kill you or your children" or "Does he/she have a gun or can he/she get one easily" aid officers making that determination. If the victim appears to be at risk of further harm, officers immediately connect the victim to a 24-hour domestic violence service provider in their community who can help get them out of the potentially dangerous situation and get them the assistance they need.

To ensure this new method is implemented throughout Virginia, the State Attorney General offered training to local agencies around the state. Officers from the Newport News Police Department and Newport News Sheriff’s Deputies attended the training and are testing the protocol to ensure effectiveness and identify any issues with the new strategy before it is implemented for the entire department.

In addition to training, the State Attorney General also distributed cell phones and phone cards to each of the localities to eliminate barriers that would prevent the departments from using the strategy. The phone distribution was an important factor because the strategy requires first responders to call to connect a victim with community resources, and many departments do not issue officers phones or ban the use of personal phones while on duty.

Photo Credit:By moggs oceanlane (Flickr: Abuse: cycle of violence) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0