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Risk Factors, Risk Assessments, and Collaboration to Prevent Domestic Violence Homicides
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Risk Factors, Risk Assessments, and Collaboration to Prevent Domestic Violence Homicides


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  • 1. Risk Factors, Risk Assessments, and Collaboration to Prevent Domestic Violence Homicides
    Web-based Training
  • 2. 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
  • 3. Statistics
  • 4. 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.
  • 5. 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:
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. 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
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. 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.
  • 10. 2009 Additional Sites Began InVEST
    Broward Co.
    WID / BSO
    Pasco Co.
    Sunrise of Pasco/PCSO
    Haven of RCS/PSO
    Hillsborough Co.
    The Spring/HCSO
    Collier Co.
    The Shelter/CCSO
    Sarasota Co.
    SPARCC / Sarasota PD
  • 11. 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.
  • 12. 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.
  • 13. 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.
  • 14. 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.
  • 15. 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
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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
  • 18. What is Different about InVEST?
  • 19. 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.
  • 20. 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.
  • 21. Understanding the Use of a Risk Assessment
  • 22. 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.
  • 23. 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.
  • 24. 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.
  • 25. 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.
  • 26. Risk Factors
  • 27. “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
  • 28. Remember
    Batterer behavior can not be scientifically proven; any batterer may become lethal at any time.
  • 29. The following Risk indicators have been identified through various studies; including Jacqueline Campbell, Neil Websdale, David Adams and through community fatality reviews.
  • 30. Access to/ownership of guns
    Use of weapon in prior abusive incidents
    Threats to kill
    Threats of suicide
    Threats with weapons
  • 31. Threats to hurt/kill children
    Threats to hurt/kill pets
    Serious injury in prior abusive incidents
  • 32. 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
  • 33. 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.
  • 34. 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
  • 35. 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.
  • 36.
    • Perpetrator makes threats to kill victim; often providing details.
    • 37. Perpetrator is familiar with the use of violence and sometimes has a prior criminal history of violence;
    • 38. Perpetrator consumes large amounts of alcohol and/or drugs immediately preceding the fatality; especially in cases of single killings; and,
    • 39. Victim has a restraining order or order of protection against perpetrator at time of killing.
  • Campbell Research
    These risk factors include:
    • Batterer’s un/employment
    • 40. Beaten while pregnant
    • 41. Stalking
    • 42. Threats
    • 43. Separation
    • 44. Access to/ownership of guns
    • 45. Use of weapon in prior abusive incidents
    • 46. Threats with weapons
    • 47. Serious injury in prior abusive incidents
    • 48. Threats of suicide
    • 49. Drug or alcohol abuse
    • 50. Forced sex of female partner
    • 51. Obsessiveness/extreme jealousy/extreme dominance(from Campbell, 1995: Table 5.2)
  • In all studies the indication of threat was present.
  • 52. 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
  • 53. 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.
  • 54. 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
  • 55. Weapons and Community Response:
    Reluctance to remove firearms from batterer households increases the likelihood of homicide.
  • 56. 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
  • 57. Minimization of threats often comes from multiple sources:
    Self (survivor)
    Service providers
    Law enforcement
  • 58. 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.
  • 59.
    • 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.
    • 60. 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.
    Block, 2003
  • 61. 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?
  • 62. 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.
  • 63. 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.
  • 64. 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
  • 65. It is Important to understand that Individuals often identify the act of strangulation as “choking”, However the difference between the two is significant.
  • 66. 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)
  • 67. There are short and long term effects of strangulation.
  • 68. Signs & Symptoms of Strangulation
    Scratch Marks
    Rope Burns
    Thumb Print or bruising
    Pain to neck/throat area
    Difficulty swallowing
    Ears Ringing
    Raspy voice
    Involuntary bowel/bladder movement
  • 69. Strangulation Fact: brain damage and death can occur in the long term effects.
  • 70. 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
  • 71. 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
  • 72. 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
  • 73. 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.
  • 74. 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.
  • 75. 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
  • 76. Risk Assessments in specific communities
  • 77. 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.
  • 78. 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.
  • 79. 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
  • 80. 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:
  • 81. 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.
  • 82. FCADV Palm Card
    FCADV has created a palm card with the three questions available for field officers to use as a guide
  • 83. 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.
  • 84. What happens after the assessment?
  • 85. 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.
  • 86. 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).
  • 87. 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.
  • 88. 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.
  • 89. New Initiatives such as InVEST:
    Rely on the growing relationships between domestic violence centers, law enforcement, and additional community partners. Must have…….
    Project Partners
  • 90. 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.
  • 91. 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.
  • 92. 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.
  • 93. 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.
  • 94. 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.
  • 95. 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.
  • 96. Questions?
    For additional information please contact:
    FCADV’s InVEST Statewide Coordinator
    (850) 425-2749