Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

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Five key questions can predict domestic violence revictimisation

Release date: Wednesday 2 February 2022

Link to report summary - Improving police risk assessment of intimate partner violence

Responses to just five questions would significantly improve police's ability to identify domestic violence victims who are at high-risk of repeat victimsation.  

Past research has shown that the NSW Police's 30-question Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) is a poor predictor of repeat intimate partner violence; performing little better than chance.   

A new study by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has identified a small set of variables that can be used to more accurately predict future intimate partner violence.

The five best performing indicators were:

  • the victim's history of domestic violence reports
  • the perpetrator's history of domestic violence convictions
  • pregnancy and new birth
  • victim's self-perception of risk
  • the perpetrator's misuse of alcohol or drugs.

Domestic violence is a major health, welfare and criminal justice issue. In 2018 NSW police recorded nearly 80,000 incidents of intimate partner violence (IPV) in various forms. Among victims who come to police attention, more than a quarter experience a new IPV incident within 12 months.

"Accurate risk assessment by police is essential to prioritise domestic violence services for victims who are most in need" said Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director at BOCSAR. "Our study proposes a brief risk assessment instrument which is both easy to implement and which significantly outperforms the current tool. Adopting such a tool could help to reduce domestic violence by connecting more high-risk victims with appropriate services."

Further enquiries: Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director, 0423 139 687

Email: bcsr@justice.nsw.gov.au

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au