Cincinnati will launch a Domestic Violence Emergency Response Team (DVERT) next month to provide more support for victims, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Instead of waiting until the next day to respond to incidents, advocates will now respond directly with officers to calls for service for domestic violence. While police are working to solve crimes, advocates are finding places for victims to stay, making sure they have a way to get to work or school and connecting them to other social services. Through the changing partnership, police and the women’s group hope to interrupt the cycle of domestic violence. Assistant Police Chief Mike John said advocates and police can have the biggest impact during the initial response.”There’s a window of opportunity that exists that the DVERT program can help with,” he said. “We don’t always have the skill set, or are limited in those social services, especially with victims and children.” That’s why the new partnership links advocates and police at the scene.
The new program is starting because victim advocates and police felt the pressure to address what Kristin Smith-Shrimplin of the group Women Helping Women calls a “public health epidemic.” Every day in the U.S., three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner on average, says the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Nearly half of female homicide victims are murdered by an intimate partner. For males, that number is just below 5 percent. In Cincinnati, about a quarter of all 2016 homicides involved an offender who was either directly engaged in a domestic assault at the time of the offense or who had a history of domestic or sexual assault. Intimate partner violence makes up 15 percent of U.S. violent crime.