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LETHALITY AWARD PRESENTED TO HARFORD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

(Harford County, MD – November 15, 2007) — On October 25th, 2007, the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence presented the Harford County Sheriff’s Office the first annual “Lethality Assessment Award” at their annual banquet held in Annapolis, MD. The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence created this award to recognize law enforcement agencies that have demonstrated the highest commitment to saving lives, as evidenced by the information from reports and various indicators. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office has been involved with lethality assessment since they began field testing the program in 2004. Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC) enthusiastic participants in this process have enhanced the level of communication, coordination, and trust between law enforcement and service providers. The cohesiveness of this relationship assisted in establishing the first family justice center in Maryland.

In 2006, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office screened over 300 domestic violence victims, well above the state’s average for screened victims. Of those that were assessed at High Danger, 77% spoke on the phone to a counselor. This number is 20% stronger than the state’s average at 54%. Those who choose to not participate in the screening process represent victims whose true danger was unable to be assessed. Harford County Sheriff’s Office reported that only 3% of victims involved chose not to participate as compared to the state’s average at 8% unreported. As a result, in Harford County deputies have made a significant difference because of their commitment to this screening process. In 2007, Harford County Sheriff’s Office and SARC’s performance continues to remain above the state averages in the key categories.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office is committed to make certain that a screen is completed on each eligible victim. As well as encouraging them to seek services. Harford County’s numbers of those victims who seek services has steadily risen from 27% in 2006, to 82% by the third quarter of 2007. State average in this measurement is approximately 32%. This effort has been a true partnership between SARC and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office that is encourage victims to seek service thus saving lives.