by Anni Lampert, Advocate at HELP of Door County
It will come as no surprise to even the most casual observer of social interaction that there is a growing sense of unease among us all. There are nearly as many factors as there are people, but for large groups, these factors include politics, the environment, the economy and concerns about aging and safety.
Even here in idyllic Door County, these factors are apparent. Fortunately, there are many professionals in law enforcement, our judicial and corrections systems, health care, social services and many other disciplines who are dedicated to continually educating themselves about how they can serve the people they interact with well and respectfully.
They also work hard to stay abreast of new trends. The Coordinated Community Response Team is made up of folks from many disciplines, and we gather regularly to get to know each other better and understand how each of our entities works so that we can interact in ways that serve people best.
I became an advocate for domestic-abuse survivors just over two years ago, and among the many trainings I participated in was one given by Miriam Falk of the Wisconsin Department of Justice about assessing lethality and becoming aware of the increase in strangulation and suffocation in domestic-abuse incidents.
Miriam Falk began as an assistant attorney general for Wisconsin in the Training and Standards Bureau in 2014. She is the state resource prosecutor and LE trainer for sexual assault and domestic violence. Before that, she worked as an assistant DA in Milwaukee, assigned to the Sensitive Crimes Unit for the last 23 of her 27 years with the office. She has extensive training experience in Wisconsin and nationally on a wide variety of topics related to sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as trial advocacy and interviewing adults and children.
Recognized as one of the best practices in domestic-violence work, lethality assessment has proven to be an important tool throughout the state, in large communities and small. Wisconsin is using the Maryland-based LAP, which is based on the research of Jacqueline Campbell. One of the factors that is most highly correlated to a high potential for lethality is the occurrence of strangulation in a relationship.
Historically, law enforcement, medical professionals and others have not understood strangulation as well as we could have. This training is designed to dispel common misunderstandings about strangulation, develop a deeper understanding of how it is a tool of control within an abusive relationship, and identify the signs and symptoms of strangulation, with the goals of enhancing investigations and holding offenders accountable.
On Tuesday, May 21, 12-3 pm, Miriam Falk will be in Door County to conduct a training on lethality assessment in the first-floor training room of the Door County Justice Center in Sturgeon Bay. Lunch will be provided. There is no cost to attend this training, but please reply to ensure that we have plenty of room, handouts and lunch. To sign up, contact Anni at HELP at 920.743.8785 or [email protected].