Many domestic violence homicides are preventable. The warning signs are usually abundant. Often it isn’t only the domestic violence victim who is killed. Tragically children who are present are also sometimes killed, as are bystanders. A surprisingly large number of mass shootings are perpetrated by domestic violence abusers. Identifying abusers early and getting them mental health or substance abuse counseling, or treatment in a batterer intervention program can make a difference.
Every county should have a Fatality Review process in place so that when a domestic violence victim is killed, they are ready to carefully study what programs, medical offices, school counselors, or others had any interaction with the couple or family prior to the homicide, and what steps might have prevented the death.
An excellent “Danger Assessment” developed in Maryland helps advocates, health workers and law enforcement identify high risk cases before they escalate to homicides.