NEWS RELEASE Contact: Chief Cynthia McAlister
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE firstname.lastname@example.org
PURCELLVILLE POLICE ANNOUNCE PARTICIPATION IN INITIATIVE TO REDUCE INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
PURCELLVILLE, Va., January 11, 2023 — The Purcellville Police Department is pleased to announce they have formally partnered with the LAWS Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services (LAWS) by officially joining the Loudoun County Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) to assist in identifying victims of intimate partner violence. The LAP is an innovative and nationally recognized practice to prevent intimate partner homicides and serious injuries.
The Purcellville Police Department officially signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with LAWS to join the LAP in the fall of 2022, with additional training for all staff, both civilian and sworn members, taking place in December of 2022. This MOU allowed both organizations to create a structure for collaboration to provide a consistent and effective method to better identify victims of intimate partner violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed, and immediately connect them to the local domestic violence service program. LAP is a multi-pronged intervention that consists of a standardized, evidence-based lethality assessment instrument and accompanying referral protocol that helps law enforcement officers tailor their actions to the unique circumstances of high-danger victims. This partnership seeks to reduce the rates of domestic violence-related homicide by directly linking those victims to community resources such as advocacy, court and hospital accompaniment, crisis hotline, safe shelter and therapy.
Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister stated, “Participation in this program is one more tool to help our officers more effectively identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk for serious injuries, and also assist in getting them the resources and support they need to stay safe. Domestic violence is a crime that can often go unnoticed or be hidden, yet it creates tremendous fear and danger for its victims. While Purcellville statistically has low rates of domestic violence incidents, even just one victim of such abuse in our community, is one too many. It is our hope that by joining LAP, we can help empower victims of domestic abuse so that they may live safely, free from additional trauma and distress.”
Debra Gilmore, CEO of LAWS, shared, “We’re pleased to partner with Purcellville Police Department, providing the tools and training to help make lifesaving decisions about high danger situations between couples and family members. We’re looking forward to continued collaboration with Purcellville PD to offer shelter, safety planning and ongoing support for survivors."
Josephine Gonzalez, Loudoun County’s Domestic Abuse Response Team Program Manager, added, "We're excited Purcellville PD has joined the LAP Program as their commitment helps increase safety for survivors and strengthens our coordinated community response to domestic violence."
For more information about LAWS including their services, please visit their website at https://lcsj.org/laws/.
The Town of Purcellville, Virginia
“Purcellville-your small Town, where history and progress intersect and people prosper,” is an award-winning town of approximately 10,000 residents located in Loudoun County, approximately 50 miles west of Washington, DC. Having received the 2021 Virginia Municipal League Innovation Award for Environmental Sustainability and in years past, the prestigious Siemens Sustainability Award for Small Communities, Purcellville continues to be honored for innovation and green initiatives. The Town most recently received the Tree City USA Award for the 14th consecutive year. The Town was reaffirmed as a AAA rated community by S&P Global Ratings, the highest credit rating possible, and was ranked “Safest City” in Virginia in 2020. Once a stop along the W&OD rail line, which has been converted to a multi-use trail from Alexandria, VA to Purcellville, the Town has maintained its historic old-town feel through the restoration and maintenance of its many downtown structures, reflecting the Victorian architecture popular during the early 1900s. Today, Purcellville is the economic hub of western Loudoun County and a popular weekend destination for antiquing, equestrian activities, farmer’s markets, wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. More info at www.purcellvilleva.gov.