Fatality review is a nationally recognized method for understanding how and why people die—the goal of which is to reduce or prevent future deaths. Domestic violence fatality review teams (DVFRTs) are comprised of stakeholders from multiple agencies and organizations that respond to domestic violence in their communities. The teams work to create a timeline of events to illustrate what led up to the fatality(ies) and then determine how or if the fatality could have been prevented. This method guides the team in generating new or changing current policies and procedures to prevent future deaths. The process is confidential, retrospective, and protected by Virginia law. Case review does not seek to place blame or reinvestigate deaths, but to enhance community collaboration and safety.
DVFRTs are authorized by the Code of Virginia §32.1-283.3 and endorsed by their local governments.
A team is a voluntary, community-based group of domestic violence stakeholders. Generally, a team organizer invites the participation of all agencies involved in the local domestic violence response. A detailed description for establishing and running a team is included in the Family and Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review: Team Protocol and Resource Manual (3rd Edition, December 2009) available on this website.
A domestic violence fatality review team is a multidisciplinary group of professionals that are involved in their community’s systematic response to domestic violence. Virginia law recommends but does not mandate team membership. Recommended representation includes:
Confidentiality is a cornerstone of fatality review. The Code of Virginia Section 32.1-283.3 supports and protects confidential team case review. Statutory highlights include: