Risk Factors, Risk Assessments, and Collaboration to Prevent Domestic Violence Homicides Web-based Training
Training Objectives To increase the knowledge about the InVEST Project To understand the risk factors for domestic violence homicide To understand the benefits and concerns of using assessment tools. To learn about the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) model
Domestic Violence (DV) Homicide Statistics In 2010, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Uniform Crime Report reflected that 113,378 incidents of domestic violence were reported to law enforcement, and 67,810 arrests made for domestic violence offenses. In the same year, 210 individuals lost their lives as a result of domestic violence, representing approximately 21% of all homicides in Florida.
National Data The Violence Policy Center (2006) estimates there are more than 500 murder-suicide incidents that result in over 1,000 deaths annually in the US. They looked at 591 murder-suicide deaths in a six month period of January to July 2005:
92% of incidents involved a firearm. 94% of perpetrators were male and most involved males killing their female intimate partners. 74% were intimate partner murder-suicides. Females were the victims in 96% of these intimate partner murder-suicides. Children witnessed the murder-suicide or found the bodies of slain family members in 43% of the cases. Thirty-nine of the cases involved multiple murder victims; of those, 34 were firearm related murder-suicides.
Female murder victims are substantially more likely than male murder victims to have been killed by an intimate partner.As Charted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics
InVEST Program The Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team is a unique statewide program designed to provide intensive advocacy and assistance to individuals identified to be in potentially lethal situations.
Statewide Initiative Implemented in 2006 in the 4 counties with the highest DV homicide rates (FDLE): Jacksonville (Initiated by Jacksonville in 1998) Alachua Co. Orange Co Seminole Co. St. Lucie Co.
2009 Additional Sites Began InVEST Broward Co. WID / BSO Pasco Co. Sunrise of Pasco/PCSO Pinellas Haven of RCS/PSO Hillsborough Co. The Spring/HCSO Collier Co. The Shelter/CCSO Sarasota Co. SPARCC / Sarasota PD
Individuals identified as high risk for homicide are assisted by domestic violence advocates and trained law enforcement officers. Services are at no cost, empowerment-based and dependent on the survivor’s desire to participate. InVEST participants receive services and advocacy throughout civil and/or criminal processes and until their situation becomes safe or they choose to exit the program.
Because at-risk survivors are often afraid to seek services, many times they do not receive safety planning or risk assessments. InVEST relies on law enforcement and DV centers to work together in order to identify potential participants.
Primary Partnerships Enhanced response success depends on the contributions of many community-based agencies: DV center Law Enforcement (first responders, probations, jails, field detectives) Criminal/Civil justice systems State’s Attorney’s Office Department of Children and Families The DV center, partnered with a law enforcement agency act as leads in the development of InVEST in each community.
All partnerships are guided by an MOU Teams include advocates, officers, and civil/criminal systems working in a comprehensive system of survivor safety through batterer intervention models. Law Enforcement works to enforce batterer accountability while DV advocates work to create safety strategies with the survivor. InVEST heavily relies on Coordinated Community Response (CCR) models.
Coordinated Community Response (CCR) The intervention process is guided by an underlying philosophical framework. An agreement to work towards reducing the number of domestic violence homicides. Policies, procedures, and protocols are in place, which coordinate and standardize intervention actions. The role each agency can provide is specific and specialized
CCR Characteristics Resources and services for victims and other at-risk family members are available to reduce the risk of further violence. Advocacy and follow up A combination of sanctions, restrictions, and rehabilitation services hold offenders accountable. Arrest, appropriate sentencing, Batterer Intervention Programs, electronic monitoring and probation
CCR Philosophy Efforts are ongoing Training and evaluation of the coordinated community response is ongoing The outcome is focused on the shared goals of survivor safety and batterer accountability
Many communities have CCR’s models that work to address domestic violence needs in their communities, such as a task force or DV council. InVEST however, is a specialized project specifically focused on providing enhanced advocacy for individuals where the potential for homicide is heightened.
Enhanced Services: Non-traditional approach to advocacy by community-based DV centers. Center initiates communication with the survivor, and offers to provide support. Abbreviated risk assessment conducted on scene by law enforcement (voluntary for survivor). InVEST Partners review of police reports daily using specified criteria to aid in the identification process.
IMPORTANT: Using a Risk Assessment 1) Because advocate privilege in Florida is specific in its protections and only applies to registered DV center advocates and… 2) Because any information from a report can be found in public records or discovery… The safety and privacy of the survivor may be compromised. For this reason FCADV recommends a full risk assessment is completed only with a registered DV center advocate.
Therefore, The following information about risk assessments is provided to help community partners understand the dynamics of risk assessments. Three recommended risk assessment questions will follow to be used by law enforcement and other InVEST community partners. Only Certified Domestic Violence Center Advocates should be conducting full risk assessments.
Definitions Risk Assessment: A tool used by advocates and community partners to evaluate the likelihood of re-assault in the short term Danger Assessment: A specific tool used to assess the potential risk of homicide, Campbell Model.
Risk Assessments There are a variety of risk assessments that are used to determine re-assault and potential for homicide. These assessments give us a way of communicating indications of potential higher risk. Always be aware that there is no true measurability or predictions as to when someone will kill.
“Determining key risk factors, over and above a history of domestic violence, that contribute to the abuse that escalates to murder will help us identify and intervene with battered women who are most at risk.” -Dr. Jacqueline Campbell
Remember Batterer behavior can not be scientifically proven; any batterer may become lethal at any time.
The following Risk indicators have been identified through various studies; including Jacqueline Campbell, Neil Websdale, David Adams and through community fatality reviews.
Access to/ownership of guns Use of weapon in prior abusive incidents Threats to kill Threats of suicide Threats with weapons
Threats to hurt/kill children Threats to hurt/kill pets Strangulation Serious injury in prior abusive incidents Separation
Stalking Rape/Forced sex of female partner Physically abusive while partner is pregnant Batterer’s unemployment Batterer’s drug or alcohol abuse Possessiveness/extreme jealousy/extreme dominance
Predictors of Domestic Violence Homicide of Women Risk Factors for Femicidefinds that a combination of factors, rather than one single factor, increases the likelihood of intimate partner homicide involving an abusive man who kills his female partner.
Websdale study in Florida 47 cases, 104 victims, including children (homicide-suicides and familicides) and single killings (67 adult female victims). In single killings, perpetrators were more likely to: have a criminal history of violence, to have had prior contact with the police regarding domestic violence
A prior history of domestic violence. An estrangement, separation, or an attempt at separation nearly always by the female party. A display of obsessive-possessiveness or morbid jealousy on the part of the eventual perpetrator; often accompanied by suicidal ideations, Stalking of the victim.
In all studies the indication of threat was present.
Adam’s Interview with 20 survivors of attempted homicide: 19 victims said perpetrator had made at least one prior threat to kill 18 reported more than one threat 10 said monthly or more 5 said weekly or more 2 said daily threats Source: D. Adams Ed.D, Emerge “Profiles of Men Who Kill their Intimate Partners” 2008
Threats + access to weapons = #1 predictor of Homicide. Threats can be seen as “talking up to” the event, or a rehearsal to the action. Weapons, particularly guns, allow perpetrators to depersonalize their actions.
Shooters’ reasons for not using other weapons “I was intoxicated… didn’t have the strength to stab or choke her.” “It happened so fast…I would have come to in the time it took to take out a knife” “A gun depersonalizes… I wouldn’t have gone through with it if I had time to think about it” “I hate knives. I’ve been stabbed” Source: D. Adams, Emerge
Weapons and Community Response: Reluctance to remove firearms from batterer households increases the likelihood of homicide.
It is our Responsibility to Take Threats Seriously Threats often become more graphic and detailed as time progresses: New strategies are needed to maintain fear Words are rehearsal to action
Minimization of threats often comes from multiple sources: Family Self (survivor) Service providers Law enforcement
Separation Just because the relationship ends, doesn’t mean the violence stops! One of the most dangerous times for a survivor of domestic violence is when survivors leave or talks of leaving.
In a study of intimate partner homicides the fatal or life-threatening incident was the first incident of physical violence for one in five women.
The catalyst for the violence was the woman’s attempt to leave in 45 percent of the murders of a woman by an intimate partner.
Jealousy Is he violently and constantly jealous of her? For instance, does the batterer say “If I can’t have you, no one can.” Does the batterer make accusations or act as if his fear or paranoia is true?
Stalking Prevalence and Extent 76% of femicide victims and 85% of attempted femicide victims had been stalked by their intimate partners in the year prior to their murder. The number of different stalking behaviors experienced by each woman ranged from 1 to 15 for femicide victims and 1 to 12 for attempted femicide victims.
Most women were stalked after the relationship with their partner had ended. 88% of femicide victims were stalked by their former partners. Reports to Law Enforcement 54% of femicide victims and 46% of attempted femicide victims reported the stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers. Stalking resource center. http://www.ncvc.org/src/main.aspx?dbID=DB_Intimate_Partner_Femicide122
Strangulation The majority of women perceiving a great amount of danger in both a shelter & a hospital study mentioned “choking” as a tactic used against them that made them believe their partner might kill them. Stuart & Campbell, 1989
It is Important to understand that Individuals often identify the act of strangulation as “choking”, However the difference between the two is significant.
Definitions Strangulation is a form of asphyxia characterized by closure of the blood vessels and/or air passages of the neck as a result of external pressure on the neck. (Intentional) Choking is a form of asphyxia characterized by an INTERNAL BLOCKAGE of the airway. (Unintentional)
There are short and long term effects of strangulation.
Signs & Symptoms of Strangulation Scratch Marks Rope Burns Thumb Print or bruising Spasm Pain to neck/throat area Difficulty swallowing Unconsciousness Ears Ringing Coughing Raspy voice Nausea/vomiting Involuntary bowel/bladder movement
Strangulation Fact: brain damage and death can occur in the long term effects. Consciousness Unconsciousness Death
Survivors experience with Past Serious Violence: 90% had been punched in face or stomach 63% had been choked or gagged 31% had gun used against them 26% said they’d been knocked out 26% had been hit by car or pushed out of car 15% had been stabbed Source: D. Adams, Emerge
A survivor’s risk for homicide can change at any time; situations where risk may increase include: The survivor has left or is about to leave An injunction for protection is served The batterer is released from jail or prison
Batterer has been notified of a recent separation, divorce or custody change Batterer finds out survivor has reached out for help for the first time…the batterer’s behavior has become “public” The batterer is currently using alcohol or drugs
INVEST provides for additional safety measures during these times: The survivor has left or is about to leave Shelter, relocation, networks, monitoring An injunction for protection is served Police contact, shelter, networks, dispatch red flags to field officers. The batterer is released from jail or prison Notification, pre-release communication from Law Enforcement to survivor and advocate.
Batterer has been notified of a recent separation, divorce or custody change Safety strategies rehearsed, electronic monitoring, Batterer finds out survivor has reached out for help for the first time…the batterer’s behavior has become “public” Shelter, advocacy, no contact orders, jail The batterer is currently using alcohol or drugs Shelter, advocacy, Heighted field officer awareness, safety checks.
Perception, Perception, Perception If the woman is very afraid and says she will be killed or may be killed, then the possibility of life-threatening violence is present. As Barbara Hart notes, “Battered women are usually the best evaluators of the potential for lethal violence because they generally have more information about the batterer than anyone other than the batterer himself.” It appears that the best approach to screening for life-threatening violence is a combination of the woman’s perspective and the advocate’s assessment. Safety Planning with Battered Woman: Complex lives/Difficult choices Jill Davies, Eleanor Lyon and Diane Monti-Catania, 1998
Working with Women of Color Dr. Jacqueline Campbell's Dangerousness Assessment is derived from a dataset that includes significant proportions of African-American women and has been used with great success with both African-American and Hispanic/Latina women. However, Women of color from these groups may be more reluctant to disclose personal information to advocates, police, or other criminal justice personnel unless rapport is well established.
Small or Closed Communities Everyone knows everyone Batterer’s friends and relatives are often in positions of power Residents may not be trustful of people outside of the community Survivor’s/Batterer’s family may have access to information about survivor whereabouts and may share that information = increased danger.
Survivor Knowledge “Battered women are usually the best evaluators of the potential for lethal violence because they generally have more information about the batterer than anyone other than the batterer himself.” Barbara Hart
Because of the risk associated to public disclosure and considerations to a survivor’s willingness to disclose personal information the following three questions are recommended for law enforcement on scene assessment:
FCADV Recommended Risk Assessments on Scene: Has the perpetrator ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon? Has the perpetrator threatened to kill you or your children? Do you think that the perpetrator is capable of killing you? Yes to any of the three questions should result in an automatic referral to InVEST/enhanced DV services.
FCADV Palm Card FCADV has created a palm card with the three questions available for field officers to use as a guide
Reporting Practices The Palm card details the tips for writing a report. Considers the valuable information needed to continue the charges after the report is made Considers the needs for a survivor to have a safe number they may be reached at.
When a survivor has been referred to InVEST the InVEST advocate will immediately attempt to make contact with the survivor to provide support and safety planning.
Safety Planning Provide empowerment-based advocacy and a commitment to offer enhanced services. Immediate safety concerns: Where is the perpetrator? Is home a safe place?
What to do if perpetrator returns or remains in the home.
Ongoing Advocacy will include: Provide information on financial support available for transportation Provide advocacy in the injunction process, in relocation, and with victims of crimes application Advocacy with the criminal justice system or any civil court process; interviews with law enforcement; interviews with the local State Attorney’s Office when applicable Provide a 911 cell phone Provide necessary legal referrals and other important immediate resources (food, TANF, housing).
With the survivors consent and guidance the registered advocate will work with law enforcement to provide information that may help in the determination of appropriate criminal response. This allows law enforcement to monitor the perpetrator effectively.
Examples of Perpetrator Monitoring Review incident report to confirm all appropriate charges have been filed. Initiate warrant for suspect when appropriate. No contact orders: when a no contact order is in place the Investigator will provide to the perpetrator conditions of release and explain the conditions of the no contact order. Explain that any violation of the no contact order will result in arrest. When possible, the perpetrator will sign a statement of understanding. The Investigator will follow through with arrests for violations.
New Initiatives such as InVEST: Rely on the growing relationships between domestic violence centers, law enforcement, and additional community partners. Must have……. Communication Trust Education Empathy Survivors Project Partners
Communication Make sure that partners are on the “same page” about roles, responsibilities, criteria. Have a tool for common language. Update and inform partners about changes in a survivor or perpetrators situation in accordance with Fl. Statutes. Identify gaps and communicate the desire for ongoing best practices.
Trust Attend trainings as a team. Provide detailed information about what each agency is doing and plans to do to make the program successful. Have various agencies provide trainings to partners.
Clarification of Legal Responsibilities Partners need to discuss and clarify the how victim advocate privilege and confidentiality applies to communications. What information is legally required to disclose, and to whom? Explain limits of each partner’s role.
Education Understand the systems of your partners Law Enforcement understands the role of DV center advocates: Detectives understand empowerment-based advocacy and laws regarding privilege Advocates are educated in the civil and criminal justice process: Understand the processes of law enforcement, State’s Attorney’s office, and other agencies.
Empathy Recognize the risk and benefits of the individuals working in the partnered program: Know that DV call outs are some of the most dangerous to law enforcement. Know that this work is difficult. Know various departments have limitations based on staffing. Understand the dynamics of domestic violence in order to best support survivors.
Commitment To develop and grow with time. FCADV is able to provide ongoing training and technical assistance to local certified DV centers in partnership with Law Enforcement agencies in order to aid in the development of each community’s success.
Questions? For additional information please contact: FCADV’s InVEST Statewide Coordinator (850) 425-2749