The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the federal legislation aimed at ending violence against women and supporting victims of violence, is up for reauthorization this year. The Senate is debating the law this week. While VAWA has served countless women since President Clinton signed it into law, the rate of domestic violence homicides has remained virtually unchanged in nearly every state since the law’s passage in 1994 – every state, that is, except Maryland, where domestic violence homicides have fallen by 40 percent since 2007. Jacquelyn Campbell, Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, can claim some credit for that decrease. Professor Campbell created the Danger Assessment, a screen that helps police, advocates and judges and others determine the likelihood that an abuser will murder his or her partner.
Susan Miller is the CEO of the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Police Department implemented the Danger Assessment in 2009, and the number of women asking for help has skyrocketed.