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An Open Message – Regarding Efforts to Prevent Domestic Violence in our Community

EPEC, along with collaboration from the Martinsburg City PD, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Community Alternatives to Violence, and East Ridge Health Center formed a County Wide Domestic Violence Task Force in 2018. One of the main goals of this task force is to implement the DLAG (dangerousness and lethality assessment guide). Attendance and participation in this task force has grown tremendously since its inception and we are so appreciative of all our partners.

This guide, when implemented at every possible entry to the system, could prevent domestic violence homicides in our community.

It is a simple assessment consisting of 4-8 questions when asked of a victim that could show known indicators that this situation could end in death. We know there are proven indicators of domestic violence homicide and if those are identified early enough, resources can be poured in to help prevent further violence.

In 2018, the WV Legislature passed via Title 149, Series 3: a mandate that all law enforcement officials must utilize the DLAG when responding to a domestic violence scene. This is effective throughout the entire state of WV and EPEC, along with the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence will provide this training to any WV Law Enforcement body free of charge.

Although the DV Task Force is currently specific to just Berkeley County, the DLAG has been offered and should be utilized in the entire panhandle. As o this date, to EPEC’s knowledge, these are the law enforcement agencies within our 3 counties that are actively utilizing DLAG on a daily basis:

  • Martinsburg Police Department
  • Ranson Police Department

We would love to grow this relationship with other law enforcement bodies and other first responders in the Eastern Panhandle. We have many other human services and medical professionals who are already utilizing this system.

If you know someone who would be interested in implementing this program within their organization or agency, please contact us at kspriggs@swcinc.org or 304-263-8522, and ask for Katie.

We are confident that we can prevent future domestic violence homicides, but it will take an entire coordinated, community response and this is our call to action to our fellow first responders to please join us around the table, to help us create a safer community. 

Thank you,

Katie Spriggs, Executive Director
Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center