National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative Webinar Series

Feb. 5: Community Informed Risk Assessment: the Arizona model

This webinar will address the origins, development, and science of the Arizona intimate Partner Risk Assessment Instrument System (APRAIS) as an example of community informed risk assessment. Presenters will explore the deployment of the tool and its accompanying protocols in the fields of law enforcement, victim advocacy, and the courts. Of paramount importance are respect for the autonomy, dignity, informed consent, and liberty rights of victims, the due process rights of suspects, and the need to be candid and transparent about the limited predictive capabilities of all risk assessment tools that screen for future threats of intimate partner violence (IPV).

March 5: Reviewing the murder of Susie Case: the process of domestic violence fatality review

Neil Websdale addresses the complexities of the life and murder of Susie Casey, a Montana woman who disappeared on April 12, 2008 from Glendive, Montana, only to be found dead three weeks later. The long search for and prosecution of her killer raised many issues that the anti-domestic violence movement confronts in its day-to-day work. The case analysis renders problematic our notions of “perpetrator” and “victim.” It also challenges many of our assumptions about “battered women,” who they are, their agency, and their resistive maneuverability. Through the lens of the case, Websdale explores the philosophy of fatality review, the review process, team membership, confidentiality and privacy, the links between fatality review and risk assessment, and the outcomes of review work.

April 2: Domestic violence related mass and spree killings

Dr. Websdale will define mass and spree killing and explain the differences between familicidal, felonious, and non-felony related forms of these offenses. The Webinar will concentrate on two forms of “public” mass and spree killings. The first form consists of those cases where the complex dynamics of domestic violence are of central significance and appear to be the principal precipitant of the killings. These cases involve offenders killing former or current spouses/partners and/or those such as family law attorneys, allied professionals, and/or friends who may have supported the spouse or partner. The second form involves those public mass killings, usually shootings, where domestic violence forms but one aspect of the case but may nevertheless be central to developing an understanding of the killings. Dr. Websdale will use case illustrations to flesh out themes across case types, examining, for example, the gendering of these offenses, the signaling of offenses, histories of intimate terrorism, planning and preparation, the possible role of mental illness, the social isolation of offenders, fascination and proficiency with weaponry, threatening changes in the life circumstances of offenders, and the role of suicidal feelings, depression, rage, extreme hatred, and vengefulness.

April 23: Domestic violence risk assessment and the family court

The Webinar commences with a discussion of various perspectives (advocacy, judicial, family law attorneys, court administrator, intimate partner violence victim/survivor) on family court systems. Dr. Websdale addresses the significance of intimate partner violence in family court, the importance of assessing the extent, context, and meaning of such violence, and the relevance and possible usefulness of such risk assessments. He then explores the kinds of behaviors emblematic of so-called “intimate terrorism” and other more dangerous forms of intimate partner violence, before examining the utility of specific risk assessment tools, the ethics of their deployment, and the problems associated with their use.

May 2: The role of collateral interviews in conducting fatality reviews

Kathleen Ferraro explore the benefits and practicalities of collateral interviews to expand our understanding of the lives of victims and perpetrators in fatality reviews. She discuss interviewing family members of decedents and perpetrators, male and female perpetrators of intimate partner homicide, survivors in cases of near-death, and others such as neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Her analysis includes coverage of the possible role of trauma in the interviewing process and ways in which interview data contribute to the overall process of domestic violence fatality review.