Domestic abuse risk assessment, safety planning and referral pathways

Risk assessment is crucial in helping to deal with domestic abuse and keep people safe

Completing risk assessments

Hampshire has adopted the Safelives Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) risk indicator checklist. Where possible all agencies should use this with their clients, particularly if they need to be referred to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) or a High Risk Domestic Abuse (HRDA) meeting (although it is not essential for referral).

We recommend that all organisations routinely employ risk assessments with their clients. If confident and trained, it is good practice to complete the DASH risk indicator checklist, as this is used on a multi-agency basis across Hampshire. If not, contact the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Helpline for help with risk assessment.

Safelives has further information and guidance on risk assessment for professionals.

What to do once you have completed a risk assessment

Action is required – use Hampshire Domestic Abuse Referral Pathway as a guide. The following are key actions to consider:

  1. If allegations of child abuse are disclosed, there is a statutory duty to act to protect those children. Referral to Children’s Services and the Police would be the normal course of action to pursue
  2. If no children are involved and the risk indicator checklist indicates a criminal offence may have been committed by the perpetrator, then the victim can be encouraged to seek help from the Police. (The Police can also signpost victims to other support agencies who may be able to provide specific support and advice.)
  3. Referral of the case to MARAC/HRDA if the assessed risk level is high. Complete a MARAC referral form and contact your local MARAC coordinator
  4. Discuss a safety plan with your client
  5. Refer your client to Stop Domestic Abuse for support, using the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Advice Line on 03300 165 112.

Safety planning

Making a safety plan is one of the most important steps for a victim of domestic abuse. Using the following questions and advice, you can help a victim make a safety plan.

Ask the following questions and record actions:

  • In what way can I (and others) help you?
  • What do you feel would help you keep safe?
  • Do you have any concerns about your children’s safety? (Ask if appropriate)
  • What have you tried in the past to protect yourself (and your children)?
  • Did any of these strategies help?

General safety advice

  • Arrange where you can go if you need to leave urgently
  • Find places where you can quickly and safely use the phone
  • Always carry a list of numbers with you in case of an emergency
  • Try to save money so that you have bus or taxi fares in an emergency
  • Get an extra set of keys for the house/car
  • Keep the keys, money and anything else you may need in a safe place, should you have to leave quickly
  • Talk to your children and let them know it’s not their fault. (Children do not have to see abuse to be affected by it. They hear it, sense it and can be sad and frightened by it)
  • Talk to friends, relatives, your doctor, nurse or others about how you feel
For more detailed advice and information, contact the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Advice Line on 03300 165 112

Other safety planning resources include:

  1. Hampshire Police Safety Planning leaflet
  2. Women's Aid Safety Plan
  3. Aurora New Dawn – Safety planning hints and tips for professionals working with
    • Children and young people
    • Victims/survivors living with their abuser during self-isolation
    • Email [email protected] for copies.
  4. Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership: Managing self-harm resource sheet
  5. Safety planning for where the child is the aggressor (CPV)

Hampshire Domestic Abuse Referral Pathway

The Hampshire Domestic Abuse Partnership (HDAP) has developed a referral pathway to help frontline professionals identify what they should do if a client discloses they are being affected by domestic abuse.

Hampshire Domestic Abuse Referral Pathway