Thursday, August 18, 2011

Partnership to protect domestic violence victims so successful shelter must expand

I've told you before about the amazing things that have resulted from our Lethality Assessment program - many, many more domestic violence victims getting the shelter and services they need. This program began in June 2009 and trained every patrol officer - about 900 of them - to administer an assessment of about a dozen questions to victims to determine how likely they are to be killed by their abuser. If the assessment shows the victim is in danger, police at the scene immediately will put her in touch with a domestic violence victim advocate from the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter and services agency.

Last year, Lisa Fleming, Rose Brooks Center's Chief Operating Officer, explained what a game-changer this Lethality Assessment and partnership with the police department has been. She said, "When I look back over the years at community collaborations that resulted in such a big systems change in how we go about responding to victims of domestic violence, this is huge – one of the biggest.”

This partnership has protected many women and children, so much so, that it's created overcrowding at Rose Brooks. It's a good and bad problem. The good is that so many more victims are being shielded from abusers and receiving services that are helping them put their lives back together. The bad is that so many victims are being served there simply isn't room for all of them, and Rose Brooks has had to turn some away. The Center began an emergency fund-raising campaign last year to build onto its shelter to make more room for the victims being sent there by police through the Lethality Assessment Program. They broke ground on the project yesterday. We're excited about the continued partnership with Rose Brooks and the possibilities the expansion brings to get more victims of domestic violence to safety.

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