The Suffolk County Legislature is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to adopt a set of risk assessment forms that help law enforcement, advocates and victims of domestic violence predict whether a batterer will attack again.
"We feel it's extremely important for victims to recognize the risk that they're in," said Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), who sponsored the legislation that would also direct police to assess offenders to help shield victims.
Hahn and legislators, including Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and co-sponsor Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), will gather with County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk police and advocates at a news conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. in front of Suffolk's Domestic Violence Commemorative Tree outside the legislature building in Hauppauge to urge their colleagues to vote for the policy.
Hahn said that victims do not fully appreciate their batterer's proclivity for reoffending and so they refuse to take precautions. "If a woman fills this out and understands her risk, she is more likely to seek services," Hahn said.
The legislation requires police to give to every domestic violence victim who contacts law enforcement a self-directed evaluation form to help them understand the likelihood that a batterer may reoffend.
Police will use another instrument to independently evaluate offenders. That assessment, the Portland Police Bureau's Risk Assessment for Intimate Partner Violence, will allow police to determine whether a victim requires extra services from the police department's domestic violence unit, such as encouraging them to seek the help of area advocates, getting an order of protection or a women's shelter.
The anti-domestic violence agencies will also use the Danger Assessment while providing services to victims.
Suffolk Police Sgt. Kelly Lynch, commander of the domestic violence and elder abuse bureau, said the department has applied the Portland assessment to old cases and found it would have predicted a batterer's likelihood of attacking again.
"The numbers were quite compelling to identify offenders who recidivated," she said. "We will use this to outreach to victims and notify them of their risk."