Las Vegas Metro Police have a program that gauges the physical danger posed by relationships before tragedy occurs.
It’s known as a “lethality assessment” and it focuses on the severity of what has long-been dubbed “domestic” cases.
It includes 13 critical questions that are asked when officers are called to incidents that may be “domestic” in nature. Among them:
*** Has the abuser ever attempted suicide?
*** Is the abuser unemployed?
*** Has the abuser ever threatened to kill you?
*** Does the abuser have access to weapons?
The questions appear on officers’ computer screens, and potential victims are interviewed away from suspects.
“How many victims are going to say, ‘Yes, he hit me,’ while he is sitting there? That doesn’t happen,” says Elynne Green, who heads Metro’s Victim Services Unit.
An arrest could occur if the questions draw responses indicating that abuse exists. If not, victims could be handed information about helpful resources.
Metro officers carry English- and Spanish-language material. They may also provide a potential victim with an emergency cell phone to dial 911 after officers leave a scene. Metro’s Civilian Victims Services Unit also follows up.
The program has aided about 500 people each month.
“I think it’s educational,” Green said. “It’s just one of the tools that we can use to educate victims and empower them.”