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

  • Henrik Belfrage
  • Susanne Strand
  • Jennifer E. Storey
  • Andrea L. Gibas
  • P. Randall Kropp
  • Stephen D. HartEmail author
Original Article


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.


Intimate partner violence Risk assessment Risk management SARA Police 



The authors thank the Swedish national police, and in particular the Rikspolisstyrelsen and Kenneth Krantz, and support and assistance. We also acknowledge the contributions of Victoria Jeffries and Kim Reeves to previous analyses of the data.


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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrik Belfrage
    • 1
    • 3
  • Susanne Strand
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jennifer E. Storey
    • 2
  • Andrea L. Gibas
    • 2
  • P. Randall Kropp
    • 2
    • 4
  • Stephen D. Hart
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Section for CriminologyMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.Forensic Psychiatric CentreSundsvallSweden
  4. 4.British Columbia Forensic Psychiatric Services CommissionVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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