Pitt County Sheriff’s office implementing program to reduce domestic violence homicides

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)- The U.S. Justice Department tapped the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office as one of four departments in the country to get the grant. They are using part of those funds to help prevent domestic altercations before its too late. The lethality assessment program allows officers to deploy a simple questionnaire even in the event there wasn’t a crime.

Sergeant John Guard from the Pitt County Sheriff’s office said, “its meant to identify those that are at greater risk of lethality or death in a domestic violence situation.”

This program would change how law enforcement officers respond to domestic situations.

“This lethality assessment forces us or encourages us as first responders to look at the totality of the relationship and not the individual incident,” Sergent Guard said.

Psychotherapist Dr. Leon Johnson says prevention is one of the best ways to deal with domestic violence.

“It’s better to report it, and it’s not true than not to report it and it is true,” Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson says physical abuse is not the only form of domestic violence and victims could be psychologically abused without knowing it.

“One of the things it starts with is verbalization, you can’t see verbalization, you can’t see verbal attacks, you hear them, but you can’t see them,” Johnson said.

Some hidden signs of domestic violence are depression, anxiety, stress, and isolation. All things the lethality assessment program would help identify when officers are responding to a domestic situation.

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