The Center for Abused Persons' (CAP) Victim Advocate collaborates with law enforcement and the court system to ensure that the most at-risk members of our community receive the support they need to stay safe. This support includes assistance with safety planning, filing protective orders, court and hospital accompaniment, providing home visits following dangerous assaults, and connecting with additional services, and participation in the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) and the Charles County fatality review team.
Intimate partner and/or sexual assault victims may ask the court to place restraints on their perpetrators. To do this, the victim files a document called a "petition," which details the complaint, the circumstances of the abuse, and the relief being requested from the court. Relief can include removing the perpetrator from a shared home, barring them from the home/workplace, and totally or partially (e.g. only email, only about children) prohibiting contact. If a judge approves the petition, then he/she issues a protective order. CAP's Victim Advocate can walk you through the process of obtaining a protective order, help with filling out your petition, and/or accompany you to your protective order hearings. For additional information download this brochure from the Maryland Courts.
Although court can be a stressful place for anyone, it can be especially difficult for those who plan to confront perpetrators of intimate partner violence or sexual violence. The Victim Advocate can talk to you about what to expect from protective order and/or criminal hearings, offer comfort and reassurance about appearing in court, sit beside you at the courthouse, and be a friendly face in the crowd during your testimony.
CAP's Victim Advocate and counselors are on-call and available for hospital accompaniment following intimate partner violence or sexual assault. During hospital accompaniment, counselors join with forensic nurse examiners and police officers to provide a wraparound experience that addresses the physical, emotional, and criminal-legal aspects of interpersonal trauma. To learn more about what to expect during a forensic exam, visit our Sexual Assault page.
Following a dangerous incident of intimate partner violence, the Victim Advocate and a law enforcement officer visit the victim's home in an effort to prevent future assaults by reviewing home and personal safety measures. The Lethality Assessment Program connects most home visit participants to this service but any community member can request a home visit. Home visits are especially helpful if an abusive partner may soon leave or has recently left a shared residence.
Lethality Assessment Program (LAP)
LAP is a two-part screening protocol that helps connect our community's most at-risk members to necessary services. In the first part of the protocol, law enforcement officers respond to an incident of intimate partner violence and administer an eleven-question assessment. This assessment measures the likelihood that the next assault will prove deadly. If the assessment rates the client as "high-risk", the officer initiates the second part of protocol by calling CAP's crisis hotline. The victim speaks with a staff member, reviews safety measures, and has the opportunity to schedule a counseling appointment; the Victim Advocate follows up by phone and provides a home visit. Charles County Department of Social Services and the Emergency and Labor & Delivery Departments at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center also participate in LAP.
Fatality Review Team
CAP participates in a Fatality Review Team as a part of a statewide initiative to reduce deaths related to intimate partner violence by improving communication among relevant agencies (e.g. law enforcement, court systems, victim advocates) and strengthening victim services.