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Researchers apply domestic violence program

October 24, 2008

Researchers from three universities, including Dr. Jill Theresa Messing of Arizona State University's School of Social Work, are applying and evaluating an intervention program for female victims of domestic violence in eight police jurisdictions in Oklahoma.

In the Lethality Assessment and Intervention Program, researchers will train police to use a brief risk assessment to identify female intimate partner violence victims who are at risk of further violence and/or homicide, and place them in immediate telephone contact with social service providers. This program has been implemented without evaluation throughout Maryland, and recently was recognized as one of the top 50 innovations in government by the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Institute.

The aim of the research is to examine whether the intervention increases victims' help-seeking behavior and/or decreases their risk for future violence. The project involves police jurisdictions including Oklahoma City, Tulsa, El Reno, Talequah, Lawton, Stillwater and Broken Arrow.

"This could signal a fundamental shift in the police response to intimate partner violence," said principal investigator Messing, assistant professor in the School of Social Work at ASU's College of Public Programs in Downtown Phoenix. "Rather than focusing solely on the perpetrator, victims may be provided with the help that they need to keep them safe."

Messing is collaborating with Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Dr. Janet Wilson at the University of Oklahoma, Sheryll Brown from the Oklahoma State Department of Public Health, and Dave Sargent from the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. The two-year project recently received a grant of more than $581,000 from the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.

The College of Public Programs at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus embraces students and faculty dedicated to rigorous education and research in the service of social and economic change. The College includes the Schools of Community Resources and Development, Public Affairs, and Social Work. Areas of expertise include: improving the quality of life for individuals and families from all backgrounds; innovative approaches to public management; and nonprofit leadership and organizational effectiveness. For information, visit

Jill Theresa Messing, MSW, Ph. D
Assistant Professor, ASU School of Social Work
602-496-1193 office

Corey Schubert
Manager of Media Communications, ASU College of Public Programs
602.496.0406 office
602.370.6128 cell