Metro government continues to combat domestic violence

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) In the past several weeks there have been at least three cases of domestic homicides in the Metro Nashville area.

Metro government continues to combat the issue of domestic violence in part, through the Lethality Assesment Program or LAP.

“The lethality assessment, assess the potential…to be harmed, to be murdered and we take it very seriously because of that.” said Becky Bullard, Senior Director of Programs for the Office of Family Safety

The Metro Office of Family Safety started the LAP program back in 2017. On scene, an officer will ask a victim a variety of questions pertaining to the abuse.

Questions include things like: “Has he/she threatened to kill you or your children?”, “Do you think he/she might try to kill you?”, “Does he/she have a gun or can he/she get one easily?”

Bullard said based on the victim’s answers, he or she may screen as “high risk”. If so, the officer immediately calls the YWCA.

On October 17, Metro Police said 30-year-old Temptress Peebles was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Police confirmed to News 2 that Peebles had completed a LAP on October 5 and 8.

Bullard said, “the Lethality Assessment can’t guarantee that someone won’t be harmed in the future.”

She continued to say, “it gives us a link to the direct services they need – such as shelter, such as planning for their safety. And that’s what the Lethality Assessment is all about – it helps them connect with the YWCA’s hotline and they do an immediate safety plan with that person [the victim]”

On the Metro Office of Family Safety website, the agency said, one study of the LAP’s effectiveness found that victims were,

-Almost 2 times more likely to receive immediate services and obtain medical care

-2.5 times more likely to remove or hide their abuser’s weapons
-1.5 times more likely to engage in protective actions. [1]

The LAP is optional, victims don’t have to answer an officer’s questions. Bullard said they have noticed a decline in willingness to complete the LAP,

“It can be really hard to share details about your life – about the abuse you’ve experienced. But it’s so important to share that information with law enforcement, with advocates, with people who can help flag that risk for you.”

News 2 spoke to a woman who serves on the YWCA’s Junior Board Committe, Angela.

Angela told News 2 that her abuse began when lived out of state, near the end of her first marriage, ‘

“We decided that the marriage was not going to work and he had a hard time accepting that. So when we parted ways, that’s when he became more aggressive. The verbal threats, he lunged at me a couple times when we were exchanging kids. It finally got to a point where he actually came to my home and assaulted me in front of my children.”

Angela said she was treated at the hospital for her injuries, and that’s when she completed a version of the LAP that was available out-of-state.

She told News 2 the LAP screening proved beneficial in linking her to vital resources.

She added, “One of the things I want people to really understand about domestic violence, it’s not necessarily something that happens right away.”

For anyone in a situation of domestic violence – resources are available at the YWCA crisis line, 1-800-334-4628, or the Tennessee Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline, 800-356-6767

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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