Lethality Assessment Program (LAP)

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence is doing more than just counting domestic violence fatalities. We are trying to prevent them. LAP is a nationally recognized, evidence-based initiative with demonstrated success in strengthening partnerships between law enforcement and community-based domestic violence programs. LAP connects victims of domestic violence with life-saving services, thereby reducing domestic violence fatalities.

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), community-based domestic violence programs and local law enforcement agencies, PCADV implemented the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program in 12 counties beginning in 2012.

LAP is designed for implementation only by trained law enforcment officers responding to the scene of a domestic violence call involving intimate partners who then work in tandem with a domestic violence hotline counselor to connect the victim with services. PCADV offers the opportunity for every Pennsylvania municipality to implement LAP.

A law enforcement officer responding to the scene of a domestic violence incident asks the victim 11 questions designed by researchers to identify factors that place a victim at high risk of being murdered. If a victim screens in at high risk, or the officer believes the victim is at high risk for lethality, the officer calls the local domestic violence hotline and encourages the victim to speak with a hotline advocate. The hotline advocate helps the victim make a safety plan and encourages the victim to access domestic violence services.

By the first half of 2017, LAP has been implemented in 42 counties with 43 domestic violence agencies and 244 law enforcement agencies. Since 2012, 5,661 victims accessed domestic violence program services in the month a LAP screen was completed regardless if they screened-in as high-danger or not.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State Data Center, Institute for State and Regional Affairs at the Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg secured funding from PCCD to implement the Lethality Assessment Program digital dashboard system.

The interactive digital dashboard visually summarizes the data PCADV receives from participating domestic violence programs and law enforcement agencies on a monthly basis.