New Program to Protect Domestic Violence Victims

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Connecticut is one of only three states to roll out a new program aimed at saving the lives of domestic violence victims.

Called the Lethality Assessment Program, or LAP, it involves an 11 question survey to calculate the risk of future violence to victims. Law enforcement officers ask the questions to victims right when they respond to a scene.

An advocate and member of Manchester Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit, Penni Micca, said, "It’s things like, 'has he ever tried to choke you?' 'Do you have a child that's not his?' 'Is he unemployed?' 'Has he ever threatened to commit suicide?'"

The top three questions signify the most risk.

Micca said the top three questions signify the most risk: "If he's threatened to kill you, if you think he might kill you, or if he has a gun or has access to a gun.”

If a victim answers yes to one of those questions, or to four of the next set of questions, police officers will immediately contact the area domestic violence program and ask the victim if they would like to speak with them.

Connecticut began using the program in 2012 after a study performed in Maryland by Johns Hopkins University. Thus far 31 law enforcement agencies are participating. Some advocates say it is already having an impact.

The director of law enforcement services for Connecticut’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Joe Froehlich said, "80 percent of those high danger victims are talking with our advocates.”

According to Froehlich, 70 percent of those victims are seeking follow-up services as well.

"Our hope is that we realize the same information that Maryland did and that is over 5 years, they've reduced their homicides by over 34 percent,” Froehlich said.

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