APD to implement new program to help domestic violence victims

The Abilene Police Department will soon implement a new program to help victims of domestic violence.

At a press conference on Thursday, Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said half of the murders in Abilene are linked to domestic violence.

To decrease the number of domestic violence deaths, the Abilene Police Department, with the help of the Noah Project and the Taylor County District Attorney’s Office, will implement a Lethality Assessment Program or LAP to help victims.

"They (officers) will conduct an assessment in the field,” Standridge said. “It will be recorded on either dashcam or bodycam. It's a simple questionnaire and it helps to determine the lethality of that domestic violence situation."

The questionnaire consists of 11 questions that officers will ask victims at a domestic violence call. Then they’ll determine if the victim is in imminent danger and needs to be placed at a safe shelter.

The program came from the University of Maryland and it took months of research to come up with the questionnaire.

Dan Cox, executive director at the Noah Project, said they have been working with the Abilene Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office for months on this program.

"It has been proven in other police departments that it's effective and it will help a victim of domestic violence realize just how serious of danger they may be in,” Cox said. “And it gives the police officer an opportunity to suggest options such as safe shelter."

Standridge said the Noah Project is leading the way for LAP in Abilene.

“Noah Project had been driving this train and I’m very thankful for him and his leadership and his team,” Standridge said.

Their ultimate goal is for officers to recognize when victims are in danger and get them out of potentially life-threatening situations.

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