Baylor Receives $400,000 Department of Justice Award for Research on Domestic Violence Fatalities

Aug. 22, 2007

by Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

The Baylor Program on Prosocial Behavior, a unit within the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) has received a $400,000 grant from the Office on Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice to continue the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative (NDVFRI), a program to study domestic violence fatalities and assist agencies and communities in the prevention of domestic violence.

This grant is the most recent in a line of several substantial awards over the past decade. It is significant because the additional grant shows that the research at Baylor has had enough measurable results to justify continued funding, said Dr. Byron Johnson, professor of sociology and co-director of ISR.

"We are delighted that the Office on Violence Against Women has enough confidence in our work to continue to fund our work in this important area," Johnson said. "This new award marks our 10th consecutive year to receive support from the Department of Justice in combating domestic violence. The grant will allow us to continue helping jurisdictions throughout the country to take meaningful steps in establishing and assisting fatality review teams."

Based at Baylor, the NDVFRI is the first program of its kind, creating a resource center dedicated to domestic violence fatality review. When the research began 10 years ago, there were only a handful of fatality review teams in the U.S., and now there are hundreds of teams in some 40 states, Johnson said.

Specifically, the Initiative seeks to:

• Prevent domestic violence homicides and domestic violence in general,
• Preserve the safety of battered women,
• Hold accountable the perpetrators of domestic violence,
• Identify gaps in service delivery as well as ways to remedy these shortcomings among agencies and organizations,
• Provide technical assistance to the states developing and continuing their fatality review work.

"The knowledge gained from these systematic reviews allows agencies and communities to thoughtfully consider how best to partner in preventing domestic violence," said Leah Gatlin, NDVFRI project coordinator at Baylor.

According to the Initiative, domestic violence fatality review requires a paradigm shift from a culture of blame to a culture of safety in which deaths are reviewed through a lens of preventive accountability. The Initiative seeks to help communities establish reliable systems, with vigor, trust, honesty and candor, that value accountability and help prevent future death and injury from domestic violence.

For more information, contact Johnson at (254) 710-7555 or Gatlin at (254) 710-1231.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?