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Re-thinking 'risk' : using risk assessment data in family violence safety work Natalie Thorburn and Cleo Arathoon

By: Thorburn, Natalie.
Contributor(s): Arathoon, Cleo.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Wellington, New Zealand : National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, 2023Description: electronic dcoment (12 pages) ; PDF file.Subject(s): DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | FAMILY VIOLENCE | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | RISK ASSESSMENT | SAFETY | SUPPORT SERVICES | VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | WOMEN'S REFUGES | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Download report, PDF
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Access online Access online Family Violence library
Online Available ON23120024

Most agencies working with family violence, including police, Oranga Tamariki, health agencies, and specialist family violence services like Women’s Refuges, ask victims certain questions to gauge how likely the perpetrator is to use violence again, and how serious that violence is likely to be. Because severe physical violence and family violence homicides are usually preceded by similar clusters of abuse tactics or perpetrator characteristics, these clusters are regarded as indicators of future serious harm.
Organisations use risk assessment tools or instruments to standardise the questions asked of victims and ‘rate’ the level of risk, in order to target the most intensive safety responses to those who are most at risk of severe harm. Risk and lethality assessment tools are typically designed for use in mainstream settings1 (e.g. police or multi-agency) and may not be fit for purpose within specialist settings.

This paper explains the new risk assessment approach introduced in affiliated Refuges at the end of 2022. This has
now been conducted with over 500 Refuge clients. Findings from risk assessments completed with new clients underline the intensity, severity, and (most notably) the variety of
risks faced by our clients, as set out below. The dataset comprising these ‘first 500’ risk assessments offer novel insight into the range of risks (and corresponding safety needs) that accompany women when they access Women’s Refuge.

This report sets out the types of harm captured by the new risk assessment, grouped by the type of risk that the harm corresponds to. (From the paper). Record #8465

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