Risk assessment for domestic violence in social work and batterer program evaluation

Liel, Christoph
Risk assessment for domestic violence in social work and batterer program evaluation. view from Germany.
University of Ulster Belfast "Symposium." 06.07.2016
First Aim of the study was to validate a Risk Inventory for Domestic Violence (RiP - “Risikoscreening für Partnergewalt”) for batterer treatment because there is a lack of suitable risk assessment tools in social work. Based on international longitudinal studies on batterer programs a proxy-based risk assessment for appraisal by professionals (RiP-module “case severity”) and battered women (RiP-module “victim’s view”) was compiled. Measures of 10 risk-indicators were adapted from research studies. RiP was tested in three German projects. Findings on 161 male perpetrators demonstrate a good sensivity of RiP showing differences between subgroups of batterers and identifying generally antisocial batterers. Good construct validity of RiP compared with the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) was shown in a subsample (n=70) although current risk groups tend to overestimate the probability of domestic re-assault. The study supports RiP as a suitable tool for risk assessment and evaluation in batterer treatment. The examination of the predictive validity on domestic re-assault is still outstanding. Second aim of the study was to investigate the evidence of batterer programs on the risk of domestic re-assault and child maltreatment. The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and a shortened German version of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAPI) were used for perpetrators’ self-report. Longitudinal results show significant improvements in almost all dynamic risk-indicators assessed by professionals (n=78), battered women (n=44), and in batterers’ self-report (n=62). However, self-reported risk of child maltreatment did not change. It’s an example of assessment in social work if no outcome-data are available. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Older Citizen, Women and Youth RiP will be implemented as an online-tool for batterer programs in 2016. RiP is likely to be used for systematic data-collection in social work, maybe linked with official data on domestic re-assault in future projects.