KEY POINTS:

  • Individual partner agencies decide how the information gleaned through risk assessment will be applied to a case, but decisions regarding charges or bail for the offender are made solely by the prosecution.
  • Accurate information contained in the risk assessment completed by law enforcement at the scene of a domestic violence incident helps identify existing patterns of behavior and escalation of intimate partner abuse.
  • When incorporated into the prosecutions presentation of the facts in court, the assessment screen fills the gaps in information about the history of violence between victims and offenders, which is especially useful during the pre-trial phase.

Domestic violence victims are at greatest risk in the time between the offenders arrest and the pre-trial proceedings. Bail decisions, conditions of release and even pre-trial decisions are especially difficult as the defendant’s rights must be balanced against the serious level of danger to the victim.  As members of a DVHRT, prosecutors are able to collaborate with advocates, police and others to move these high risk cases forward quickly, thereby enabling a rapid response for a victim that dramatically decreases the likelihood of an escalation of violence, serious physical injury, or fatality.