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New questionnaire tells police how likely you are to die from domestic abuse

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Stopping homicides from happening could come in a simple question and answer form. Rockford Police plan to use a new program to tell if domestic abuse victims will likely die if they don't get help. It's called the Lethality Assessment Program. Rockford Police are teaming up with Remedies, which runs Winnebago and Boone Counties only domestic violence shelter. LAP gauges how likely someone is to be killed from domestic violence.

"Could you imagine that the person that has professed to love you most in the world would kill you," says Karen Gill, Remedies, vice president of operations.

It's the reality Remedies tries to get victims to understand. Since December 20th last year Rockford Police believe five people were killed in domestic violence related homicides including two children.

"There are very, very statistically sound predictors of which cases are going to result in homicide," says Gill.

That's where the Lethality program comes in. It's more than a dozen questions police will ask victims. Questions like: Is the person fighting with you suicidal? Are there weapons in the home? Is the physical abuse happening more often?

"Help them realize just how scared they should be," says Gill.

"The key is to connect that victim to services, whatever services they may need that is the key to stop the cycle of domestic violence," says Deputy Chief Dave Hopkins.

Rockford Police say they're training on this program now. Officers will have a cell phone to hand a victim with a domestic violence counselor on the other end. Remedies expects the demand for its services to overwhelm them once officers are fully trained.

"We will prioritize with most lethal coming first will do everything within our means but at some point you run out of means and we are going to have to look for other sources," says Gill.

The next step for Remedies is to find more financial resources to need the expected demand. Rockford Police, the Winnebago County Domestic Violence courts and Remedies are getting training on the program through a federal grant. However, the grant does not give money to run the program.

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