Lethality Assessment Program Aims To Protect Victim’s In Potentially Violent Situations

(Beaver Dam) Domestic violence and law enforcement officials hope that a recent program creates a safer environment for those facing potentially violent situations. The lethality assessment program was first brought to the Dodge County area in 2017 and is a form that determines a victim’s risk of being killed by their abuser. PAVE’s Associate Director Ashley Welak says when an officer responds to a domestic disturbance they ask a series of 12 questions. If the victim answers “yes” to a certain amount Welak says that means they are at a high risk of being killed. She says the officer will notify the victim and encourage them to reach to PAVE for shelter. Welak says PAVE partners with 22 law enforcement agencies in the county. Beaver Dam Police Sergeant Erik Smedema describes the type of questions a responding officer would ask. Smedema says the questions include have you been threaten with a gun before, does the suspect have access to a weapon or has taking you cellphone and blocked communication, among others. He says this program allows officer’s to get a victim in contact with PAVE and their services quicker than in years past. PAVE’s crises line is 800-775-3785, their texting hotline is 920-344-0123 and their website is www.pavedc.org.