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Saturday, October 31, 2009

[FL] Florida Attorney General McCollum's mulit-agency domestic violence fatality review team will include officer-involved cases

1st Row: Florida Attorney General ; Bill McCollum; 2nd row: Tiffany Carr, President of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Antoinette Ross - slain last week by Chattahoochee Police Lt. Barry Moore; 4th Row: Florida Police Chiefs Association President Pinellas Park Police Chief Dorene Thomas, and emblem for the Florida Sheriff's Association

...The death of Antoinette Ross is a prime example of the kind of case that will be examined over the next year by a statewide domestic violence review team... With representatives from the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriff's Association present, the issue of domestic violence cases involving law-enforcement officers were raised as ones that will be examined. "Obviously, based on Ms. [Antoinette] Ross' death, we as law enforcement have to look at it," Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil said...

How right it is to lift these tragedies up into the light in hopes of being able to save the lives of others in the future. Florida, you are leader.

AG, TEAM TO STUDY FATALITIES IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES Multi-agency group to review local fatality cases
Tallahassee Democrat
By David Sáez
October 28, 2009
The death of Antoinette Ross is a prime example of the kind of case that will be examined over the next year by a statewide domestic violence review team, according to a state victim advocate. Tiffany Carr, the chief executive officer of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, also says that establishing this team will help the state get a handle on domestic violence homicides. Carr mentioned Ross during a Tuesday press conference where Attorney General Bill McCollum announced that his office would lead a multi-agency, multi-sector team in reviewing local fatality cases. McCollum said it would be the first in the nation.... Ross was killed last week, and it's believed her death was related to a relationship with Lt. Barry Moore of the Chattahoochee Police Department, who was the father of one of Ross' children. Ross worked in DCF's ACCESS office, which distributes food stamps and cash assistance. Ross' death is one of three fatal or near-fatal local domestic violence cases that have occurred in the past two months... "What our highest law-enforcement officer is saying is that this is enough," Carr said. McCollum introduced the review team by citing Florida Department of Law Enforcement data that show an 8.9-percent increase in domestic-violence homicides between January and June 2008 to January and June 2009. With representatives from the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriff's Association present, the issue of domestic violence cases involving law-enforcement officers were raised as ones that will be examined. "Obviously, based on Ms. Ross' death (this past week), we as law enforcement have to look at it," Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil said. Throughout the state, local fatality review teams work to analyze and recommend responses to domestic violence locally, but a statewide perspective could reveal new information that could lead to new approaches for dealing with domestic violence. "We don't know if other (strategies) can help shelter and prevent domestic violence cases," McCollum said. "We don't know if we're missing something, but we can't sit back and wait for California or New York to lead us." The group, which will include everyone from government agency representatives to direct-service providers, will have its first meeting on Dec. 9 and will release a final report by September 2010. [Full article here]

AG, TEAM TO STUDY FATALITIES IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES
Multi-agency group to review local fatality cases
Florida Capital News
By David Sáez
October 28, 2009
The death of Antoinette Ross is a prime example of the kind of case that will be examined over the next year by a statewide domestic violence review team, according to a state victim advocate. Tiffany Carr, the chief executive officer of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, also says that establishing this team will help the state get a handle on domestic violence homicides... "Last week (the Department of Children and Families) lost one of its own," Carr said. "We have lost someone in our own backyard. And we're here as a group to say, 'No more.'" Ross was killed last week, and it's believed her death was related to a relationship with Lt. Barry Moore of the Chattahoochee Police Department, who was the father of one of Ross' children. Ross worked in DCF's ACCESS office, which distributes food stamps and cash assistance. Ross' death is one of three fatal or near-fatal local domestic violence cases that have occurred in the past two months. In previous incidents, the co-owner of a Havana bar was shot by her husband in late August and, in September, a Florida State University student was choked to death by her boyfriend. "What our highest law-enforcement officer is saying is that this is enough," Carr said... [Full article here]

ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL MCCOLLUM NEWS RELEASE
McCollum, Partners Launch Statewide Initiative to Combat Domestic Violence Fatalities
October 27, 2009
Media Contact: Sandi Copes
Phone: (850) 245-0150

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Joined by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and numerous state agencies and law enforcement organizations, Attorney General McCollum today announced his office will create and lead a statewide domestic violence fatality review team. The team will conduct fatality and near-fatality reviews and will ultimately create policy recommendations to address issues which may prevent domestic violence homicides.

“There is an urgent need to identify strategies that will address the brutality of these homicides, and will ultimately help us save lives,” said Attorney General McCollum.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement data comparing Jan-June 2008 to Jan-June 2009 reflects 8.9 percent increase in domestic violence homicides, 100 percent increase in domestic violence manslaughters, and 38 percent increase in stalking which often serves as a precursor to homicide. These statistics indicate there is an urgent need to identify strategies to address the brutality of these homicides.

“The domestic violence community is overwhelmed by General McCollum's foresight to create a statewide domestic violence fatality review team. Florida has experienced some of the most brutal domestic violence homicides in our state's history and there has never been a more important time to shine a light on domestic violence fatalities,” said Tiffany Carr, CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “We have no doubt this will be the first step to reverse the increase of domestic violence homicides in Florida. As always, we applaud Attorney General McCollum for his commitment to end violence against women.”

Reviews conducted by local fatality review teams in Florida are a critical component in helping communities to understand the events that may have led to a domestic violence homicide, and ultimately to determine how to prevent such homicides. However, local fatality review teams, comprised almost exclusively of volunteers, have limited resources to conduct reviews, and the focus of their conclusions and recommendations is to effectuate change at the local level.

Section 741.316, Fla. Statutes authorizes the establishment of a domestic violence fatality review team at the state level to review fatal and near-fatal incidents of domestic violence. With the establishment of a Statewide Fatality Review team, Florida will be the only state in the country to have both statewide and local fatality review teams. Representatives of the domestic violence advocacy community will provide the leadership to the team because it will be critical to view systemic response to domestic violence through the eyes of victims of domestic violence.

In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, team members will include, at a minimum, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Education, representatives from the Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, Prosecuting Attorneys, and Public Defenders Associations, Florida Legal Services, certified domestic violence centers, batterers’ intervention programs, the Office of State Court Administration, a clerk of the court, a medical examiner, a child death review team representative, a physician, a psychologist or other mental health professional, a sexual assault counselor, and a survivor of domestic violence. The initial organization meeting will occur on December 9, 2009 in Tallahassee and will be hosted by the Attorney General.

The Statewide team will be separated into two working groups – one group will conduct case review of selected cases, and the subsequent group will review the data from local fatality review teams to ascertain trends and systemic gaps. A final report is anticipated by September 2010. [LINK]
[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder suicide florida state]

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