Friday, January 23, 2009

Quicker Help for people who may not even know they are at risk

Metro's Crimes Against Youth and Family Bureau is trying to become more proactive in all of its areas. One statistic Captain Vincent Cannito would like to see come down is the 44 homicides in 2008 identified as "intimate-partner related." Many are the result of Domestic Violence.

In an attempt to identify which victims of domestic violence are most likely to become future homicide victims, Cannito and his team looked at research out of Maryland, based on 25 years of crime data. They boiled it down to eleven questions.

1. Has your partner (or whoever the aggressor is) ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?
2. Has he or she ever threatened to kill you or your children?
3. Do you think he/she might try to kill you?
4. Does he/she have a gun or can he/she get one easily?
5. Has he/she ever tried to strangle you?
6. Is he/she violently or constantly jealous or does he/she control most or all of your daily activities?
7. Have you left him/her or separated after living together or being married?
8. Is he/she unemployed?
9. Has he/she ever tried to kill himself/herself?
10. Do you have a child that he/she knows is not his/hers?
11. Does he/she follow or spy on you or leave threatening messages?

This list of questions will be given to the patrol officers, who are usually the first to respond to a domestic violence call to police. If the person answers yes to any three questions, the officer will offer to make a phone call and put the victim in direct contact with one of several service agencies in the area. This can all happen before a detective even starts investigating. Since the suspect often runs before police arrive, placing the phone call at this point can get the victim needed help before the suspect returns and potentially commits more violence.

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