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Judging risk: Key determinants in British domestic violence cases

Robinson, Amanda L. ORCID: and Howarth, Emma 2012. Judging risk: Key determinants in British domestic violence cases. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 27 (8) , pp. 1489-1518. 10.1177/0886260511425792

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Data from the largest study to date of the working practices of British victim support workers (known as Independent Domestic Violence Advisors or IDVAs) are used to provide insight into how “risk judgments” are made in cases of domestic violence. Using data from more than 2,000 victims, this study found a convergence between actuarial data and IDVAs’ risk judgments when the risk score was high, but in cases with a lower risk score, IDVAs often used their professional judgment to upgrade risk. Next, we identified the specific factors underpinning IDVAs’ risk judgments. Consistent with existing research, we found that IDVAs relied on a subset of available information when forming risk judgments, and characteristics of the abusive situation, such as the escalation of violence, use of weapons, stalking, and significant injuries, were particularly salient to them. Furthermore, IDVAs paid attention to victims’ perceptions and when they felt very frightened or afraid of further injury then IDVAs were more likely to label them as high risk. Although we identified some encouraging overlap between the subset of factors informing risk judgments and those associated with victims’ reabuse at a later date, some notable differences indicate a need for messages from research about the significance of particular risk factors to be reinforced to frontline practitioners on a regular basis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Uncontrolled Keywords: domestic violence; risk assessment; structured judgment; actuarial; victim advocates
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0886-2605
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 11:04

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