Homicide is the fifth leading cause of death for women aged 18 to 44. In 2015 alone, 3,519 women and girls were killed. Husbands, boyfriends and other intimate partners perpetrated more than half of these murders.

Research has shown that intimate partner domestic violence homicides are often predictable; and if they’re predictable, they’re preventable.

The Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center is a nationally recognized leader in the fight to end domestic violence homicides. In 2005, we launched the country’s first Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) in our home town of Newburyport, MA. Since then, our research-based model has been recognized by the White House, academics, domestic violence advocates and law enforcement professionals across the country as an innovative, effective way to reduce the threat of harm to intended victims, family members and first responders.

About the Domestic Violence High Risk Team Model

A Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) uses evidence-based risk assessment to alert a community’s domestic violence response system when a case has a high risk of turning lethal. Once identified, the team implements customized intervention plans to mitigate the danger.

The DVHRT provides a practical forum for partner organizations including law enforcement, prosecutors, probation, parole and corrections to share critical information. This closes gaps in the system that allow predictable homicides to occur.

The DVHRT framework is built upon four fundamental strategies:

  • Early identification of high-risk cases through the use of risk assessment,
  • Engagement of a multi-disciplinary team,
  • Ongoing monitoring and containment of high-risk offenders, and
  • Victim services.

How the DVHRT Model Changes A Community

A community that implements the DVHRT model experiences both short-term and long-term positive changes:

  • Victims are kept safe and offenders are held accountable.
  • Overall quality of the system’s response to domestic violence improves with the adoption of research-based risk assessment. 
  • Communication improves between key response agencies as risk factors are more widely understood.
  • Gaps in the system become evident and easily identified through information sharing and data collection.
  • Homicides and re-assaults decrease as high-risk cases are recognized and reported.

Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement
(DA-LE)

The Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement (DA-LE) is an evidence-based risk assessment screening instrument that is designed to identify victims who are at the highest risk of intimate partner homicide (IPH) and severe/near-lethal assault. It is administered on the scene of domestic violence calls by law enforcement officers, and acts as a supplement to the police report.  

The DA-LE is also designed for use in court to inform criminal justice proceedings, including bail and charging decisions.  

The instrument screens in only those victims at the highest risk of intimate partner homicide or near-lethal assault, minimizing the number of false positives.