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New test offers domestic violence victims hope

For many couples, domestic violence is a serious problem that can often end in a fatality or serious injury. Across the nation, thousands of fatalities result from domestic violence. For one Minnesota domestic violence victim, preventing these fatality and abuse has been her number one goal after narrowly escaping being held at gunpoint by her ex-husband.

The 48-year-old Minnesotan is insisting every police officer should perform the Lethality Assessment Program questionnaire after every domestic violence incident. Studies have shown that when a domestic violence victim decides to leave an abusive situation while the abuser is out of control, they increase their risk of being seriously injured or killed by the perpetrator by 75 percent. The purpose of the LAP questionnaire is to determine if victims fall into the high risk category. The questionnaire contains 28 questions, and when filled out by a victim it will help police determine if intervention is necessary.

In 2010, the 48-year-old was a victim of domestic violence. She told her husband of 20 years that she was leaving with the kids. After a month, the husband broke in and held a revolver to her face and cocked the trigger. He told her that he would kill her then himself. Luckily their 16-year old daughter was there to calm the father down and a potentially deadly situation was avoided.

The woman took the LAP test shortly afterward and scored a 26, which helped to put her husband in jail. A score of 18 is considered dangerous on the scale. The woman hopes to apply this test for all victims of domestic violence so that the number of fatalities goes down. Last year 18 people lost their lives in domestic violence disputes in the state of Minnesota.

Source: Star Tribune, "Minnesota police reaching out to abuse victims, before it's too late," Joy Powell, March 2, 2013

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