Domestic violence victims use Fairfax Co. program to find help

FAIRFAX, Va. — New figures show that over the past year, domestic violence victims have been using a program in Fairfax County, Virginia, that is meant to help provide victims with potentially lifesaving services.

Under the Lethality Assessment Program — launched in July 2015 — police officers who respond to domestic violence incidents sit down with victims and ask them a series of questions about their situation. Victims deemed to be in a “high-danger” situation are then given the option of talking on the phone with a victim advocate who can give them more information about what to do and where to go to receive services they may need to stay safe.

“The program is intended to connect victims immediately with victim advocates upon the scene of a law enforcement incident,” said Sandy Bromley, the countywide domestic violence coordinator.

According to new figures, police have dealt with 555 high-danger victims since the program began, or about 46 every month. When given the option to do so, 80 percent of the victims agreed to speak with an advocate.

“When victims engage in those services, they are safer,” Bromley said.

The program has also shed light on the severity of such situations, with 51 percent of high-danger victims saying they believed their offender might try to kill them.

“Domestic violence in Fairfax County is a big problem,” said Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler.

He added, “We are just blessed that every single Fairfax County police officer, along with our advocates, has embraced this program and we have made a difference.”

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up