A program that helps local officials identify people at high risk of domestic violence is expanding in Tennessee. The state’s Office of Criminal Justice Programs, in collaboration with the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, today announced that three domestic violence service providers are the newest to receive federal approval for using a tool called the Lethality Assessment Program – Maryland Model.
“Gov. Haslam’s Public Safety Plan launched an intense effort to end domestic violence,” OCJP Director Jennifer Brinkman said. “We’ve increased the number of Family Justice Centers in our state from two to nine by this summer and TLETA plans to train over 7,500 law enforcement and domestic violence advocates in the LAP protocol over the next five years.
“Many domestic violence-related homicides are preventable if we just recognize the signs and take action immediately. The LAP program helps law enforcement investigators and victim advocates make sometimes difficult decisions that will help keep victims safe and provide critical follow-up services.”
The approved agencies, which join 17 domestic violence service providers and 31 law enforcement agencies already utilizing LAP in Tennessee, represent each region of the state:
• Fayette Cares, Inc. in Somerville, Tn. (west);
• Home Safe in Hendersonville, Tn. (middle); and,
• Helen Ross McNabb Center in Oak Ridge, Tn. (east).
In addition to the newly-approved teams, LAP agencies will continue to grow throughout the state with 29 additional law enforcement agencies that plan to implement with currently approved LAP domestic violence service providers in 2018.
Created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence in 2005, LAP is a strategy to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries. LAP consists of a set of 11 standardized questions with independent predictors to help officers predict the risk of imminent harm to a victim in an intimate partner domestic dispute. When the criteria are met overall, the victim is immediately connected with a 24-hour community advocate.
Domestic violence continues to be a pressing issue for the state of Tennessee, officials said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations’ publication Crime in Tennessee 2017 reports that 45,703 domestic violence offenses cleared by law enforcement agencies last year and 67 percent of those offenses were assaults. Tennessee has historically ranked in the top 15 in the nation for domestic violence incidents.
The approval of three new agencies will bring consultants from the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence to Tennessee in July to conduct two separate trainings in the LAP method:
• July 24 at Metro Nashville Police Department’s South precinct
• July 26 at Germantown Police Department
The training is an eight-hour course for domestic violence service providers and law enforcement. Attendees will then train fellow advocates and law enforcement personnel.
The OCJP functions as a strategic planning agency that secures, distributes and manages federal and state funds for Tennessee, including Victims of Crime Act funds and STOP Violence Against Women Program funds. OCJP uses a structured process to plan three to five years ahead of daily grant management activities at the changing needs of Tennessee’s justice system and the needs of its victims of violent crime. To address crime and victimization in Tennessee, OCJP manages a systematic, year-round cycle for determining the communities’ needs, identifying the justice system’s problems, setting program priorities, making grant allocation decisions, managing those funded projects and evaluating the results of those decisions.