More than 1/4 of domestic violence victims say partner can easily get gun

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Results of a domestic violence Lethality Assessment show that more than half of people identified as high-risk for serious injury or death have a partner who is violently or constantly jealous.

The Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) started in Nashville in October. The purpose of the program is to identify victims of domestic violence who are the most at risk for homicide or life- threatening injuries.

“The first criteria is it has to be intimate partners,” Lt. Tommy Widener said. “They have to have had sexual relations or children in the past.”

That distinction narrows down the instances considered domestic violence incidents. For example, a father or son fighting or roommates.

“Also, if the officer is there looking around and says, ‘Look she says nothing happened,’ but I notice there are a lot of calls in the past here, the officer can offer services,” Lt. Widener said.

The LAP asks various questions including:

  • Has he/she every used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?
  • Has he/she threatened to kill you or your children?
  • Do you think he/she might try to kill you?

The results of the LAP show between January 1 to June 10, 31 percent of respondents said their partner threatened to kill them or their children.

Also, 54 percent said their partner is violently or constantly jealous or controls most of their daily activities.

The LAP also asks victims about whether their partner has choked them.  About 40 percent of respondents said their partner choked them.

“When you think about strangulation, you think about someone grabbing someone by the throat, looking them in the eye and strangling them to the point they lose consciousness,” Widener said. “If you look at domestic violence being about control, not just in one instance but as conduct, it really is scary to think of the power it feeds for the person who is willing to do that act.”

Metro police’s domestic violence unit works with community organizations to offer assistance to the victims of domestic violence.

“When a victim comes here it doesn’t just have to be the police because we can use the counselors who can use the resources we have available,” Lt. Widener said. “That is really the two large areas we are working in offender accountability and victim safety.”

MNPD works with the YWCA, as well as Madison Morning Star to help victims.

“Domestic violence touches every race, gender, gay or straight, and economic status,” Lt. Widener said. “A lot of what they are going to discuss when they come in is confidential in nature. They can have a long discussion with counselors before they talk to law enforcement about what’s going on in the home.”

MNPD has more information about the Domestic Violence Division on its website.