LAKE OSWEGO – In honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, all Clackamas County police departments are implementing a new domestic-violence response protocol to decrease domestic violence in Clackamas County.
The police departments will use a Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP), which is a screening tool that enables first responders to quickly determine the risk of homicide in a domestic violence situation. Research has shown that, in 50% of domestic-violence related homicides, police officers had previously responded to a call at the location. The LAP tool enables officers to identify the victims at the greatest risk of serious injury or death and immediately connect them with victim services. By putting potential victims in touch with domestic violence support services, police can prevent domestic violence homicides, serious injuries, and re-assault.
“The Clackamas County Domestic Violence Protocol and Lethality Assessment improve our response to incidents of domestic violence by standardizing response from the time the victim calls to the time the case is prosecuted,” said Lake Oswego Police Chief Don Johnson. “Violence assessment better ensures the safety of the victim.”
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has been using this assessment tool for the last 3 years and has screened more than 1,023 survivors. The Sheriff’s Office has been working with Clackamas Women’s Services on the protocol since that organization was created. Clackamas Women’s Services provides crisis support and safety planning on the initial call and then follows up by helping the victim obtain protective orders, shelter, counseling, support groups and long-term safety planning and support from staff at A Safe Place or other rural satellite offices. A Safe Place is the name of the Family Justice Center in Clackamas County, and it is a place where survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and vulnerable adult abuse can access many of their services under one roof.
The Clackamas County Children, Youth and Families Division has facilitated the signing of agreements with the different municipal police agencies, solidifying the commitment to a Domestic Violence Protocol for law enforcement. This was made possible through grants sponsored by the Police Chief’s Association of Clackamas County. Each of the chiefs is committed to working together to strengthen domestic violence response within their own communities.