Frequently Asked Questions

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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
  • Judges
  • Probation and Parole Officers
  • Magistrates
  • 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.