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Risk management

Last edited: December 29, 2011

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Security personnel should take specific measures to mitigate/ manage risks of future violence as follows:

  • Facilitating order for protections, including no-contact or barring orders and post-hearing orders or court protection orders

  • Working with victims to identify risk factors and create a personalized safety plan

  • Referring or escorting women to shelters or alternative safe accommodation

  • Adoption of a mandatory arrest policy in all cases of alleged or suspected domestic violence

  • Requesting, as necessary, strict release conditions for offenders, including curfews, no-contact orders, abstinence from alcohol, prohibition from weapons and seeking and attending counselling

  • Monitoring and enforcement of bail/release conditions and post-trial release conditions

  • Notification of victims prior to release of an offender

  • Investigating reports of threats received by women (UNODC, 2010).

Example: Victoria Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (Australia)

In response to the need for an integrated response to family violence and stemming from the state-wide Steering Committee to Reduce Family Violence, the Victoria government (Australia) developed and piloted in 2007 a risk assessment and management framework for promoting integrated responses to family violence. The framework is designed to be used by various actors who may engage with women and children at-risk (e.g. educators, nurses, other health care providers) or provide direct support to survivors, including police, housing authorities, child protection workers, court registrars and other service providers across sectors. The framework sets out six components for identifying and responding to family violence as follows:

  1. a shared understanding of risk and family violence across all service providers

  2. a standardized approach to assessing risk

  3. appropriate referral pathways and information sharing

  4. risk management strategies including ongoing assessment and case management

  5. consistent data collection and analysis to ensure the system is able to respond to changing priorities, and

  6. quality assurance strategies and measures that underpin a philosophy of continuous improvement.

The framework is presented in a manual with detailed guidance around each component area, tailored to fit the specific roles of different agencies and actors (such as the police) to ensure responses are consistent across the system and most effective for survivors. This ensures use and strengthening of existing protocols, such as the police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence, rather than creating new guidance for responding to violence. The manual is complemented by various training materials, including handbooks, videos and training the trainer materials that have been used to roll out the framework’s implementation.

Source: Family Violence Coordination Unit. 2007. “Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework.” State of Victoria. Melbourne.


Promising Practice: The Metropolitan Police Service Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Model (United Kingdom)

This model sets out a risk assessment and management model with the following steps:

1. Initial risk assessment by the reporting officer: The reporting officers and their patrol supervisor should identify risk factors and decide the level of intervention required (Form 1), which should be completed for every incident. The next stage depends on the risk level identified.

2. Risk Assessment by Investigating Officer: A second form of questions follows guided by the SPECCS principles:

Separation: victims trying to leave relationships are at greater risk of lethal violence. Many incidents happen as a result of child contact or custody disputes.

Pregnancy / new birth: domestic violence can start or get worse in pregnancy.

Escalation: identifying repeat victimization and escalation of incidents is important since domestic violence is likely to be repeated and may increase in severity over time.

Cultural Issues/ sensitivity: Domestic violence may take on different forms within specific communities; survivor needs may differ among language, religious or cultural groups, and may require protection and safety measures (e.g. women and girls at risk of crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’), as well as specialized efforts where there is perceived racism or other forms of discrimination preventing women from accessing support services.

Stalking: Persistent and consistent calling, texting, sending letters, following, and other intimidating and threatening behavior is linked with greater risk of violence, especially if a stalker has had an intimate relationship with the woman or girl. Stalking and physical assault are also associated with risk of murder and attempted murder.

Sexual Assault: Women who have been sexually abused by an intimate partner are at greater risk of serious violence, including femicide. Those who report a domestic sexual assault tend to have a history of domestic abuse whether or not it has been reported, and one in twelve of reported domestic sexual offenders are considered to be potentially dangerous offenders.

3. Establish an Intervention Plan, using guidance

Several levels of intervention/prevention should be considered once risk are identified.

  • Referral to other services (e.g. victim support, refuge, solicitor)

  • Direct action (e.g. prosecute, caution, harassment warning)

  • Proactive action (e.g. collect evidence, install surveillance, issue a panic alarm, develop a safety plan, nominate a safe contact)

Risk Management: The model also establishes options for risk management (RARA):

Remove the risk: by arresting the suspect and obtaining a remand in custody.

Avoid the risk: by re-housing victim/ significant witnesses or placement in a shelter in a location unknown to the perpetrator.

Reduce the risk: by joint intervention/ victim safety planning, target hardening and use of protective legislation.

Accept the risk: ongoing reference to the risk assessment, continual multi-agency intervention planning, support and consent of the victim and offender targeting within Pro-active Assessment and Tasking Pro-forma and Multi-agency Public Protection Panel format.

Excerpt adapted from: Richards, L. 2003. “Metropolitan Police Service Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Model.” Metropolitan Police. London.