Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar announced on January 22nd, 2024, a new partnership to help better protect victims of domestic violence and save lives.

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Sheriff Akshar along with members of the Crime Victims Assistance Center and the Family Violence Prevention Council spoke about the implementation of a new Lethality Assessment Program that is designed to help identify victims who are at an increased risk of being killed by their intimate partner.

LAP Program Flow Chart
photo provided by Broome County Sheriff's Office
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According to the news conference press release, the Lethality Assessment Program "utilizes evidence-based screenings to help law enforcement better assess potential lethality by identifying common red flags, patterns, and responses associated with domestic homicides."

Communities like ours have seen far too many victims of repeated domestic violence become victims of murder. Working with our community partners, we’re taking a proactive approach to prevent domestic tragedies before they can occur. - Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar

Lethality Assessment Program In Action

According to the Broome County Sheriff's Office, the way it works is like this: Upon responding to a domestic violence incident. the deputy on scene completes a LAP screening with the victim.

Broome County LAP Assessment
photo provided by Broome County Sheriff's Office
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The deputy will determine whether the victim is at high risk for domestic homicide and connect them with the appropriate support services, based on their answers.
Consenting victims identified as high-risk would be paired immediately with a local Domestic Advocate to develop a safety plan and other prevention measures.

The Broome County Sheriff's Office notes that they have already put the LAP into place twice so far in 2024 in domestic violence cases.

The Family Violence Prevention Council has a long-standing history of developing innovative ways to support victims, professionals, and community members impacted by violence. The Lethality Assessment Program is an example of what hard work, trust, and partnership between dedicated agencies can accomplish. We thank Westchester County’s Office for Women and our Inter-Agency Planning Committee for helping this idea come to fruition. We look forward to a productive year of ongoing collaboration throughout Broome County. - Kristin Beylo, Family Violence Prevention Council Coordinator

Lap Program
photo provided by Broome County Sheriff's Office
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The Broome County Sheriff's Office also notes that according to the National Institute of Justice:

76% of female homicide victims had been stalked by the person who killed them. 54% of the victims reported stalking to the police before they were killed by their stalkers. 89% of the victims who had been physically abused had also been stalked in the 12 months before the murder. A separate study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that the presence of a gun in a home where there is domestic violence increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

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