KEY POINTS:

  • Prior to implementation of a DVHRT, specialized training is provided for patrol officers in the administration of this tool with victims – risk assessment tools are not used with offenders.
  • Decisions to administer the risk screen on-scene are made by local law enforcement in accordance with department policy for response to domestic violence incidents.
  • The presence of lethal indicators in a case of intimate partner homicide is determined by law enforcement and/or the domestic violence agency via the risk assessment screen administered to the victim.

A high percentage of cases come to the DVHRT through law enforcement as they are often the first to interact with victims and offenders alike.  Risk assessment screens, designed by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, are used with victims by both advocates and law enforcement; but officers in the field use a shorter screen designed for on-scene assessment that allows for the documentation of indicators that are most predictive of lethal assault.  When recorded accurately, along with the history and pattern of abuse, distinct acts of violence can be considered by the court in context.  Through their field expertise, law enforcement is uniquely qualified to provide crucial interventions and sustained follow-through as a partner agency of a DVHRT.