Within the past few months, the Annual Death Review Committee’s Report was released. This is always a difficult read but is also a very important read. This report helps to guide organizations, such as ours, on what we need to continue doing as well as which areas we need to focus on in the future.
“Although significant gains in knowledge and understanding have been made over the past 10 years, there is still appreciable room for improvement and expansion of ‘best practice’ approaches to service providers responding to domestic violence cases. Efforts must also continue to educate the public to the dangers and societal costs of domestic violence, and to provide neighbours, friends, families and co-workers with the knowledge and confidence to intervene and assist victims in preventing further violence.” (William J. Lucas, MD CCFP- Domestic Violence Death Review Committee 2012 Annual Report)
As a part of the Outreach Support team, one of the tools we use to identify risk factors is the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee Report (DVDCR). This tool helps workers and clients to identify factors that may increase the likelihood that the current abuse could escalate to a point of lethality. One particular factor “pending or actual separation” from an abusive relationship can increase the chance of lethality and has been a factor in 70% of deaths. Therefore it is so important that safety planning is done when someone is considering leaving the relationship.
Often I hear from clients that they never thought about some of these factors as “risky” because it is easier for them not to think about it or because they have been living in this situation for so long that it has become normal.
These are just some of the “risk factors” to be aware of: prior destruction or depravation of victim’s property, prior threats to commit suicide by perpetrator, history of domestic violence, prior attempts to isolate the victim, controlling most or all of victim’s daily activities and prior violence against family pets. For more information please consult the following attachment providing the complete list of risk factors.
If you are interested in learning more about “Risk Factors” that YOU or a loved one is experiencing, please call our crisis lines (listed below) and request to meet with an Outreach Worker to talk more about safety.