Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police say they respond to more domestic violence calls this time of year when kids are out of school -- and it's a problem they hope a new program will help fix.
"It is one of the most painful terrors that we have as human beings," said Marta Miranda of the Center for Women and Families.
Police say domestic violence has become more and more common.
"When you ask a victim, they say, 'Oh yeah, he's told me he's going to kill me by shooting me in front of my kids,'" said Lt. Carolyn Nunn of the Louisville Metro Police Department.
"This is our own hurting our own -- and I think that is really hard for us to digest," said Miranda.
Last October, LMPD and the Center for Women and Families implemented the Lethality Assessment Program. The goal: to save lives.
"We want to be their white knight in shining armor," said Nunn.
Victims are now confronted the first time they call for help.
"I am 21-year veteran of the department, and this is the first time we are offering services to our victims at the scene of their crisis," Nunn said.
They're given an assessment with 11 questions: Has he or she ever used a weapon against you, or threatened you with a weapon? Has he or she threatened to kill you or your children? Do you think he or she might try to kill you?
"If you answer yes to any of these three questions, it's an automatic protocol to call the center and immediately talk to a crisis counselor," said Nunn.
Police say many victims do not know about the services -- and they've had an overwhelming response.
"Sixty-six percent have had services from the Center for Women and Families," Nunn said.
And for those who think domestic violence does not affect them...
"It's $5 million per domestic violence homicide," Miranda said.
...the financial and emotional toll might be enough to change their minds.