Domestic violence homicides in Maryland have dropped by 40 percent since 2007—and its success is attributed to a simple new approach to helping victims:

“A few years after moving to Johns Hopkins in 1993, Campbell and a team of researchers began studying domestic violence murders in Maryland. Their work, which was published in 2002, sought to identify the key indicators that predicted whether a case of domestic violence was likely to become a domestic homicide. The study produced some surprisingly precise findings. If a man had a history of hitting his partner, that in itself was a predictor of murder. But certain kinds of behavior came with even higher chances of death. For instance, if a man choked his partner, she was five times more likely to be killed by him at some point. If he was unemployed, he was four times more likely to kill her. The researchers also found that only 4 percent of homicide victims had ever sought help from a shelter; in a follow-up study, they found that a stay in a safehouse decreased the risk of violent re-assault by 60 percent. Their findings offered new ways to measure risk. ‘It also informed the system about which cases needed heightened scrutiny,’ says Campbell.”