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Kent County coalition releases Domestic Violence Homicide Review

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National Domestic Violence Hotline
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Kent County coalition releases Domestic Violence Homicide Review

From 2014-2018 intimate partner violence and domestic violence was a known factor for 45% of all female homicide victims in Michigan.

The release of Thursday’s Domestic Violence Homicide Review is the first of its kind for Kent County’s Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team (DVCCRT). The report, features an analysis of one of the many domestic violence homicides the county saw over the past year. The murder-suicide of three year three-year-old Dylan Thebo at the hands of his father Derek Thebo in August of 2021

Dylan's mother, Katlyn Hall, approached the DVCCRT to write the review, in hopes the group could facilitate a process for systems to better identify and respond to domestic violence.

"It gave hope that it wasn't in vain. if these recommendations and changes are able to save even one person's life, if they can implement a policy, if somebody through training is able to see a pattern in recognizing lethality factors, then it is all worth it." Hall said.

The report examined the entire case, noting observable dynamics of coercive control and high-lethality abuse tactics, which were reported to law enforcement as far back as April 2020.

During a press conference Thursday, the group unveiled a series of recommendations it said could potentially prevent deaths like Dylan’s:

  • Consistent annual training for systemic actors on the understanding of domestic
  • violence lethality factors and the utilization of a shared evidence-based danger
  • assessment tool when making determinations related to domestic violence cases.
  • Increased understanding of the presence of domestic violence lethality factors.
  • Implement consistent training for systemic actors on recognizing the use and effects of coercive control within domestic violence relationships.

From 2014-2018 intimate partner violence and domestic violence was a known factor for 45% of all female homicide victims in Michigan. DVCCRT members noted systems change takes time that many victims don’t have, citing a 10% increase in Domestic Violence reports amid the pandemic. Co-Chair, Tara Aday, adding the entire community needs to step forward for change.
“Accountability can’t rest on victim’s shoulders. Systemic actors have tangible steps towards accountability," Aday said.

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