#ThatsNotLove: Helping teens spot signs of relationship abuse “That’s still sort of a feeling about it, I guess, but we’ve busted it open on sexual harassment and sexual assault. Well, my goodness, domestic violence needs to be in there, too,” Day said. Day and her colleagues at the Geiger Center are trying to bring domestic violence more fully into the national consciousness with a new campaign . A tool to save lives? The statistics are sobering: Every day, on average, three or more women are killed in the US by their husbands or boyfriends, according to the American Psychological Association. But the number of deaths related to domestic violence is higher than that. A study found that victims included children, family members or friends of the abused, law enforcement or bystanders. They are called domestic violence homicides, and they often share several key characteristics, including the fact that the incident is typically not the first time the abuser was violent. It is the shared aspects of incidents of deadly domestic violence that led to the creation of a screening tool that law enforcement can use to determine how dangerous a situation might be. The Geiger Center developed the tool with researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Arizona State University School of Social Work. Children: The silent victims of domestic violence Officers can use the tool when they respond to a domestic violence call; it involves asking a series of questions about whether the abuser has made threatening statements in the past, is constantly jealous, has ever tried to strangle the victim or has access to guns. When a gun is involved, the risk of homicide increases by 500%, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The tool, called the Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement, is important because it helps officers in the field gather the most essential information to determine whether this is a high-risk case that could result in death, said Suzanne Dubus, chief executive officer of the Geiger Center. “Then, their risk management protocols go into place,” Dubus said. “The risk assessment becomes part of the police report, so it informs the court and bail proceedings and gives them a chance to hold the abuser so that the victim can become safe.” The risk assessment, created in October 2016, is now being used in the communities the center serves alongside the Domestic Violence High Risk Team, which the center started in 2005. As part of the team’s approach, representatives from the center, law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, the courts and the health care industry meet to discuss ongoing domestic violence situations and those that pose the greatest risk. Women who won’t go to a shelter When Dorothy Giunta-Cotter came to the Geiger Center in 2002, fearing that her husband might kill her, it did not have the domestic violence risk-assessment tool or the High Risk Team. Giunta-Cotter was tired of running and moving from shelter to shelter, Dubus said. She wanted to return home and get her kids back to school. Dubus said that too often, people assume that if the situation is dangerous enough, women will go to a shelter. But there aren’t enough shelter beds for every woman in a dangerous situation, she said. Also, there are cases like Giunta-Cotter’s, in which women don’t want to go to a shelter — or can’t. Giunta-Cotter’s husband eventually broke into her home, shot and killed her and then killed himself. What Serena Williams wants you to know about domestic violence “And so after she was killed six weeks after coming to us, all we knew was, we had to figure out another way to handle this, and we needed to challenge that notion that we all carried that if it was bad enough, she’ll go into shelter,” Dubus said.