Date: 23 Mar 2011

Assessment and Management of Risk for Intimate Partner Violence by Police Officers Using the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a crime that is present in all countries, seriously impacts victims, and demands a great deal of time and resources from the criminal justice system. The current study examined the use of the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide, 2nd ed. (SARA; Kropp, Hart, Webster, & Eaves, 1995), a structured professional judgment risk assessment and management tool for IPV, by police officers in Sweden over a follow-up of 18 months. SARA risk assessments had significant predictive validity with respect to risk management recommendations made by police, as well as with recidivism as indexed by subsequent contacts with police. Risk management mediated the association between risk assessment and recidivism: High levels of intervention were associated with decreased recidivism in high risk cases, but with increased recidivism in low risk cases. The findings support the potential utility of police-based risk assessment and management of IPV, and in particular the belief that appropriately structured risk assessment and management decisions can prevent violence.

During preparation of the final version of this manuscript, the authors learned of the passing of Don Andrews, some of whose publications are cited herein. We would like to dedicate this paper to Don in recognition of his contributions to the field of offender assessment and treatment.