What is Domestic Violence Fatality Review?
Domestic violence fatality review is the in-depth analysis of deaths or near deaths that result from domestic violence. The goal of fatality review is not to find fault or blame any individual or agency for the death. The goal is to learn from these very complex cases in an effort to identify ways to improve our overall response to domestic violence, with an eye toward preventing similar outcomes in the future.
Domestic violence fatality review is conducted by a multi-disciplinary team and includes activities such as:
- Reviewing case records – Fatality review teams often review information and files generated during the case being reviewed, such as police reports, child welfare records, and court records.
- Talking to local responders – Fatality review teams typically reach out to the responders who handled the case being reviewed to get insight about what happened and about the community.
- Interviewing family, friends, co-workers, etc. – Fatality review teams will often reach out to family and other people close to the victim and perpetrator in cases being reviewed and invite them to share information about their loved one with the team.
- Creating a timeline of events leading up to the homicide – Using all of the information gathered, fatality review teams often create a timeline of events leading up to the homicide in the case being reviewed. This timeline of events is not only a day or two leading up to the death, but can go back as far as the information available allows.
- Making recommendations – Based on the reviews conducted, many fatality review teams make recommendations for policy and practice change in an effort to enhance the system response to domestic violence.