Original Article

Law and Human Behavior

First online:

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

  • Henrik BelfrageAffiliated withDepartment of Health Sciences, Section for Criminology, Mid Sweden UniversityForensic Psychiatric Centre
  • , Susanne StrandAffiliated withDepartment of Health Sciences, Section for Criminology, Mid Sweden UniversityForensic Psychiatric Centre
  • , Jennifer E. StoreyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • , Andrea L. GibasAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • , P. Randall KroppAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Simon Fraser UniversityBritish Columbia Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission
  • , Stephen D. HartAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Simon Fraser UniversityFaculty of Psychology, University of Bergen Email author 

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.

Keywords

Intimate partner violence Risk assessment Risk management SARA Police