DVFRTs are authorized by the Code of Virginia §32.1-283.3 and endorsed by their local governments.
HOW IS A FATALITY REVIEW TEAM FORMED?
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.
WHO ARE TEAM MEMBERS?
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:
- Commonwealth’s Attorneys
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Domestic Violence Program Providers
- Probation and Parole Officers
- Victim/Witness Advocates
- Legal Advocates
- Batterer Intervention Providers
- School Officials
- Healthcare Providers
- Medical Examiners
- Court Personnel
- Social Service Program Providers
WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY?
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:
- All team members and agencies sign confidentiality agreements which protect the information, records, discussions, and opinions shared during case review.
- Only closed cases (those with no further criminal investigations or prosecutions) may be reviewed.
- All case review information is excluded from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
- Published team findings must not identify individuals; they can be published only in statistical or other form which protects identity.
- Confidentiality violations are punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.