Counties across Wisconsin will get new training to help survivors of domestic violence.
That’s thanks to a $.5 million grant from the state government, announced today.
The non-profit End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin will be receiving more than $500,000 to evaluate when domestic abuse situations will prove deadly.
The Lethality Assessment Program is already used by police and domestic violence shelters in 20 Wisconsin counties, and the hope is to expand it to several more.
The Program uses 11 questions to assess the risk of homicide or serious injury in domestic violence situations. Questions include whether or not the perpetrator has access to firearms and what kind of dangerous behavior the perpetrator has exhibited before.
The program also immediately connects victims with domestic violence services in the community.
Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin Patti Seger says this program saves lives.“As a society, when we have the opportunity to evaluate certain situations and we know its evidence based and we know it actually works, the greatest hope I have as a life long advocate for victims of domestic violence is that communities will step up and step into this process and start to make the kind of changes that can save people’s lives.
The new grant is to expand the program over the next two years. In fact, it’s already expanding. End Abuse Wisconsin is training St Croix County and Iowa County to use it tomorrow.
St Croix County and Iowa Counties will become the 21st and 22nd counties in Wisconsin to use the program. In the 20 counties that use it already, 93 law enforcement agencies and 17 victim services organizations have been trained.
Seger says most of the money from the grant will go toward training more agencies. “Already,. a number of police agencies and communities are stepping up and saying ‘yes, I want to do this.’ So, we step in and provide training. Of course, we have to cover expenses of folks to travel to the training, hotel if they need it, things like that. A big part of the expense is related to that.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says part of the benefit of ranking cases this way is to help law enforcement agencies with limited resources prioritize. In addition, it helps law enforcement convince victims to get help. The DOJ gave them the grant using federal funds. “Ultimately, it’s more persuasive to to the victims when all the elements to the system are agreeing,” he says.
Seger hopes End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin will be able to take the program statewide.
She says they’re also working on a database for departments to record cases and their outcomes so they can collect data to study how well it works.