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New program seeks to end domestic violence fatalities

Just south of Denver, officials in Douglas County are rolling out some new efforts to reduce fatalities due to domestic violence. Using a number of targeted questions when responding to domestic violence calls, officers hope to be able to identify situations that may go from dangerous to deadly before a tragedy occurs.

Under the new program, officers who are responding to a domestic violence complaint will ask a series of very pointed questions to the alleged victim of the complaint. The questions focus on potentially fatal threats first and gradually shift to examining non-fatal but still significant possibilities.

If the respondent answers "yes" to any of the more serious questions in the questionnaire, the officer will immediately call a crisis center and ask the respondent if he or she would like to speak to a counselor.

Research from the jurisdiction where the program originated indicates that of those who were killed by a partner in a relationship, only 4 percent had reached out to a counseling service for help. The new program hopes to create connections with counselors and ultimately save lives for those who suffer from domestic violence.

Of course, all domestic violence accusations are a two-sided story. While certainly no one should be abused or killed by an intimate partner, those who are accused of domestic violence would not be expected to simply accept the charges. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you deserve a solid defense. A strong defense ensures that you do not suffer consequences for false accusations while protecting your rights and creating opportunities for you to get the help you need.

Source: The Denver Post, "Douglas County pioneers new way to reduce fatalities from domestic violence," John Aguilar, Jan. 01, 2017

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