A Maryland program designed to prevent domestic violence-related homicides will be replicated in other parts of the country with the help of a new federal grant, reports the Washington Post. The $105,280 grant will fund training for at least five jurisdictions on Maryland’s “lethality assessment program,” which helps police officers who respond to 911 calls identify high-risk abuse cases at the scene and put victims on the phone with counselors on the spot. The program, started in 2006 and based on research by experts at Johns Hopkins University, has been embraced by 87 law enforcement agencies across the state.
The program’s organizers said it has put more than 3,000 high-risk victims in touch with counselors in the immediate aftermath of a violent incident. Of those, more than 800 have gone into a domestic violence program for additional services. To assess lethality, police are trained to ask 11 pointed questions — about weapons, employment, threats, children — that researchers said indicate possible peril. In such cases, police make a call to counselors right away and encourage victims to take the phone. The program has attracted attention across the U.S.