Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, officers across the state of Maine will begin going through a risk assessment checklist when they investigate cases of domestic violence assault, according to WMTW-TV.
Maine is the first state in the country to make the change that advocates hope will save lives.
Usually, about half the homicides in Maine every year end up being related to domestic violence. In 2014, public safety officials are classifying 12 of the state’s 19 homicides as domestic-violence related.
Beginning on New Year’s Day every police officer in Maine will also fill out checklist during a domestic violence abuse investigation.
“There are 13 items that predict the likelihood that someone will commit an assault and sooner, more frequently, and more seriously,” Fay Luppi, Violence Intervention Partnership for Cumberland County, said.
Luppi pushed for change in legislation.
The system was created in Canada and is called ODARA- Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment. It’s an evidence-based risk assessment checklist that an officer can complete in five or 10 minutes.
Advocates hope the new step will save lives by tailoring the way law enforcement officials respond to domestic violence incidents.
“The intervention is going to be different depending on what the factors are, so there might be different bail conditions. There might be different kinds of sentencing. There might be different safety planning depending on the factors that are involved,” Luppi said.
The checklist will not be mandatory for officers investigating domestic abuse involving same-sex partners. Luppi said there is not enough evidence in those cases to prove if the checklist is effective.
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