Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention

Funding Agency: United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women

Partners: Cuyahoga County, Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center

The Cuyahoga County Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative reduces domestic violence homicides by effectively identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders. The DV Homicide Initiative is modeled after programs in Massachusetts and Maryland, where the use of coordinated teams of law enforcement, prosecutors, health professionals and victims’ services significantly reduced the domestic violence homicide rate.

In Phase 1, selected sites will collect local data related to domestic violence and domestic violence homicide, complete a community/needs assessment and develop a work plan. The Begun Center is the local research and evaluation partner.

The DV Homicide Initiative is based on an assessment tool that researchers identified that can be used to reliably recognize women who may be in fatally abusive relationships. Attempted strangulation, threats with weapons, sexual assault, and obsessively jealous and controlling behavior are among the markers of particularly lethal abusers. Once at-risk victims are identified, law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and service providers can take action to protect them and their families.

Since passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60%, but more work remains to reduce the most serious of this violence. The Office on Violence Against Women is partnering with the National Institute of Justice to rigorously monitor the implementation of the initiative and evaluate its outcomes. They are also working with national experts to provide technical assistance to the demonstration sites and examine the effectiveness of the DV Homicide prevention models.

Research Team: Jeff Kretschmar (Principal Investigator), Ashley M. Bukach

In the Media

Former judge Lance Mason pleads not guilty to charges related to ex-wife's death. News 5 Cleveland, December 2018.

Former Cuyahoga County judge Lance Mason showed homicidal tendencies, group says. News 5 Cleveland, November 2018.

These two Cleveland police officers are trying to break the cycle of high-risk domestic violence. News 5 Cleveland, June 2018.

Almost half face death: Preventing murder by addressing domestic violence. Progressive Charlestown (RI), May 2018.

Case Western report: Cleveland domestic violence victims at high risk of being killed by abusers. News 5 Cleveland, May 2018.

Cleveland team tackles 'high risk' domestic violence cases to improve safety, reduce deaths. Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 2017.