The Danger Assessment

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and 180 Turning Lives Around is grateful for this month-long recognition which helps draw awareness, support and engagement with our mission.
Each day our hotline rings with calls from victims of domestic violence who have confronted their fears of retaliation and taken that courageous step to get help for themselves and their family.  Callers like Elizabeth*, explaining through her tears, that she and her daughter had been living in their car for the last few days since fleeing her abusive husband’s death threats.  He had come home drunk and threatened to kill her, throwing her against the wall.  Wearing only their pajamas and running out in the middle of the night, she wasn’t sure where to turn.  A call to the police lead her to finding 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.  It wasn’t the first time he’d terrorized her but she vowed it would be the last.  Drumming up all her courage, she told her story to 180’s hotline counselor who listened with compassion and understanding.  “You don’t have to do this alone, we’re here to help you”.
During calls like these, staff who are trained and certified in administering Johns Hopkins University’s Danger Assessment tool, discuss factors that may determine a victim’s level of danger and risk of lethality.  The days and months following a victim leaving her abuser is often the most dangerous for her so a Safety Plan is discussed to address her safety and well-being in the immediate future. Should she decide to come in for counseling, these tools are elaborated upon and plans for her next steps put in place.
For Elizabeth, and thousands like her each year, 180 is a beacon of hope that helps individuals empower themselves and find the courage and strength to turn their lives around.  Each year, more than three million victims in the United States are abused by their intimate partners with more than 1,200 killed by their abusers.  These victims of homicide or attempted homicide are often unaware prior to the attack that their lives are in danger.  The Danger Assessment tool is just one critical step we take in working with domestic violence survivors to help assure their safety.
We thank you for taking the time to read this and to understand one aspect of our work with survivors.  We appreciate your support of our mission which makes this work possible.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.
*To protect confidentiality, client name has been changed.
P.S. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to help raise awareness in Monmouth County, please consider forwarding this message to individuals in your network. 
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