Lethality Assessment Protocol: Challenges and Barriers of Implementation for Domestic Violence Victim Advocates

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



This exploratory qualitative research study examined the attitudes and barriers domestic violence victim advocates identified in successful implementation of the lethality assessment protocol, a collaborative intervention between police departments and domestic violence advocacy agencies in the state of Connecticut. Focus groups were conducted at four domestic violence agencies to ascertain advocates’ perceptions of the lethality assessment protocol. Advocates (N=24) were recruited through an individual contact at each agency. Responses to focus group questions indicated both system-wide and individual agency and police department collaboration barriers. Results showed advocates generally support the protocol and believe it has beneficial intent and purpose. Challenges identified included lack of victim cooperation, variations in law enforcement officer attitude, and deficiencies in training. Implementation barriers and advocates’ attitudes are also discussed. Lethality assessment protocol is a useful tool, yet all stakeholders must actively engage in cooperative training, tackle personal biases toward domestic violence victims, and gain a better understanding of victim psychology.


Online before print February 11, 2024