ROCKFORD, Ill. — Authorities in a northern Illinois city are preparing to enact additional, proactive domestic violence response efforts.
Starting Nov. 1, the Lethality Assessment Program — Maryland Model will immediately connect social services to victims of domestic violence, who are most likely to be seriously hurt or killed, the Rockford Register Star reported .
The program will be paid through a $1.5 million grant from the federal Office on Violence Against Women to the Winnebago County Domestic Violence Coordinated Courts.
Under the program, a research-based screening tool will be used to determine whether the victim of domestic violence is at a high risk of death or injury. Officers will speak to the victims who score the highest.
Sgt. Mary Ogden, commander of the city’s domestic violence unit, said an essential step to ending domestic violence is finding a balance between connecting victims with socials services and empowering them to make the decision about getting help.
“We cannot arrest our way out of domestic violence,” Ogden said.
Ogden said she is optimistic the program will help break the cycle of domestic violence in Rockford and Winnebago County.
Rockford police responded to more than 500 domestic-related violent crimes last year, including sex crimes, aggravated assaults and robberies. That’s a 16 percent increase from 2015, when the city saw nearly 440 related incidents.
Results of the two-year program will be analyzed by the Northern Illinois University’s Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault, along with Yale University.
Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com