Program Finds Success in Addressing Domestic Violence

Program Finds Success in Addressing Domestic Violence

The Chippewa Falls Police Department (CFPD) and Family Support Center (FSC) launched a Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) in the fall of 2020 and have recently released the results of that program as well as some feedback from those involved, saying 2023 was an incredibly successful year in helping
victims who are at high risk of being killed by an intimate partner.

“This program is truly preventing homicides.”

-Geri Segal, Executive Director at FSC

In 2023:

  • 61% of the households who CFPD screened were considered high lethality.
  • Of the high-lethality calls, 97% were connected by CFPD to FSC at the incident or right after.
  • FSC was able to follow up with 89% of these victims and 57% made an appointment for

Family Support Center empowers all individuals, families, and communities to live free from domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and interpersonal violence through education, prevention, and intervention. Geri Segal, Executive Director at FSC, said that “this program is truly preventing homicides. We are excited that we have been able to use evidence-based practices to identify risk factors associated with lethal violence and connect these victims to our services. All the up-front work that was done
by FSC staff and CFPD officers has had truly meaningful outcomes.”

Lt. Ryan Douglas from CFPD has been involved with LAP for years and stated that “looking at our
2023 stats, one thing that catches my attention is that CFPD responded to a domestic incident
approximately every 6.3 days. Officers responded to a domestic with a high-risk victim
approximately every 10 days. Those are some pretty high numbers. Anything CFPD can do to help
domestic abuse victims (survivors) is a priority.” Jeni H., Domestic Violence Program Director at FSC, agrees that this program prioritizes victims. “These numbers not only show how many domestic incidents are potentially lethal, but also that this protocol is really able to connect the people most at risk of being killed to services. I am really impressed with CFPD Officers and FSC Advocates and the work we are doing together to keep our community safer for survivors of violence. This is very much a team effort.”

The yearly Wisconsin Homicide Report released in October 2023 by End Abuse WI, a statewide anti-
violence coalition, showed that 2022 had the highest number of domestic-violence related homicides since this report has been published. 96 people in WI died because of domestic violence homicides in 2022. Risk factors include threats to use a weapon, actual use of a weapon, stalking, strangulation, obsessive jealousy, and sexual assault. Many of these risk factors are included on the LAP screener that law enforcement officers use when responding to domestic incidents in Chippewa Falls.

In 2024, this program will expand to include Chippewa County, outside of Chippewa Falls. The
Chippewa Co. Sheriff’s Department began implementing LAP mid-January and indicate they are
committed to making this program as successful as possible. Sheriff Travis Hakes spoke about this
collaboration, saying “I am honored to announce that the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office will now
be working with the Family Support Center on the Lethality Assessment Program. We are looking
forward to participating in this program to build on the great work the Chippewa Falls Police
Department and the Family Support Center are doing for the victims in the City of Chippewa Falls
for more residents of Chippewa County. I am grateful for the Family Support Center and the
services they provide for victims in Chippewa County. The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office will
continue to support and advocate for our victims.”

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