Risk Assessment in Domestic Violence

Warning Signs of a High Risk Situation

  • Abuser has threatened or attempted to kill victim and/or others close to the victim (e.g. victim's children, parents, etc.)
  • Abuser has prior history of violence towards others
  • Abuser has access to weapons and/or has used or threatened to use them
  • Abuse has included attempted strangulation
  • Abuse has included stalking/monitoring of victim's activities
  • Abuse has included forced or coerced sexual activity
  • Violence has recently escalated in intensity or severity
  • Violence has taken place while victim was pregnant
  • Abuser is using drugs or alcohol
  • Abuser has isolated victim and/or is violently jealous and controlling of victim's daily activities
  • Victim recently left or attempted to leave the relationship

If someone is at imminent risk of serious harm, Safety Planning is essential.   For many victims, leaving or attempting to leave the situation is often met with increased levels violence and threat from the abuser.  Therefore, it is extremely important to help your client think ahead about safe places they can go, how they can get there, important items to have packed and resdy to go, and how they can most decrease the chances of the abuser finding them once they have left.  For information on how to refer someone to a Domestic Violence Shelter, please see the section on Safety Planning.