POLITICS

Lt. Gov. and family testify in support of domestic violence bill requiring LAP

Jan 24, 2023, 6:36 PM | Updated: 8:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Domestic violence situations can be some of the most difficult for police to respond to and can lead to the most heartbreaking loss for family.

“Beautiful girl. Beautiful smile. She was only 35 years old when she was murdered,” Kent Mayne said of his daughter, Mandy, during a Senate committee hearing.

It’s been five months since Kent and Shauna Mayne lost their daughter Mandy to domestic violence. The parents and their niece, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, testified in front of members of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Standing Committee Tuesday.

“No parent aspires to come to the legislature to talk about legislation on behalf of their daughter,” Kent said. “That usually means something bad has happened. However, it also means hopefully something good will follow.”

The Maynes hope that good thing will be SB117. The legislation would require law enforcement officers to conduct a lethality assessment, or LAP, when responding to a report of domestic violence between intimate partners.

The assessment is an 11-question survey to determine a person’s risk of being killed in a domestic violence situation.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Todd Weiler, said about half of Utah’s police departments are using LAP.

“Law enforcement throughout the state are hearing loud and clear that it’s time to start using them and there’s no more excuses,” Henderson said after the hearing. “What’s been so heartening is to hear from those who do it and say this is a very valuable tool. It’s not time consuming. It’s not costly.”

After her cousin was killed by an ex, Utah’s Lt. Gov. says Utah must take action on domestic violence

“We have seen dramatic results in our small community using this program,” said Assistant Police Chief Adam Osoro with the Woods Cross Police Department. “We believe our very first lethality screening saved four lives and we were sold on the program.”

Weiler also said the bill would create a database.

“We have a situation where we have all these police agencies and there’s no easy way to share and synergize the information they have on criminals, or purported criminals,” he said.

Weiler said the only pushback he has seen is from some defense attorneys who are concerned the results of the assessment could be misused against their clients in court.

The bill cruised through the Senate committee hearing without any opposition Tuesday, but with plenty of support from at least one family.

“It could have saved Mandy’s life, I believe, and I think it will save lives in the future,” Shauna said.

“I think she’d be happy to know that perhaps because this happened to her, that it might result in helping others to avoid the same fate,” Kent said.


Domestic violence resources

If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
  • Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.

There are several ways the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can help people. Previous examples include providing financial assistance for funerals, for moving, for a variety of things, counseling that help people find a different path or stay healthy and safe and the relationship they’re in.

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Lt. Gov. and family testify in support of domestic violence bill requiring LAP