Buncombe Commissioners hear domestic violence fatality review team report and recommendations

Press release from Buncombe County:

Local domestic violence-related homicides in Buncombe rose from no fatalities in 2022 to three related fatalities in 2023. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners received and reviewed the latest recommendations from the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team (DVFRT) during Tuesday’s Board meeting. The DVFRT, which presents its findings annually to both the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence Leadership Team and the Buncombe Commissioners, provided a high-level overview of their latest report to ensure the confidentiality of those involved.

In August 2023, an intensive two-day review session was conducted, focusing on a specific domestic violence homicide case that highlighted extensive interactions with both civil and criminal legal systems over an eight-year period. The case review illustrated the gaps in information sharing and coordination in civic and criminal legal systems and a power dynamic where the perpetrator used workplace power, legal knowledge, financial power, and community status to intimidate partners.

Over the past three years, several consistent themes continue to emerge from the DVFRT’s findings including inefficient information-sharing across jurisdictions and lack of permanent protective orders, perpetrator access to firearms, and community members who did not report concerns about domestic violence.

The DVFRT’s recommendations and focus areas aim to address these systemic issues and enhance community response to domestic violence. Over the next three years, the DVFRT will focus on staffing, promotion of the Porchlight Project (launching in July) and similar campaigns to help people recognize danger signs of intimate partner violence, and continued use of the Safe and Together Model in Child Protective Services that increases perpetrator accountability.  A new focus area in building community support engages Community Health Worker Violence Prevention Professionals and other individuals with lived experience to support survivors and families.

Click here for more information about the report and recommendations from the DVFRT.

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