Inventory of Spousal Violence Risk Assessment Tools Used in Canada

4. Findings

Based on discussions with jurisdictional contacts, it was found that while validated risk assessment tools are being used, piloted or reviewed in some provinces/territories, criminal justice personnel are also working with other mechanisms such as investigative checklists, case management tools and interagency protocols, created by their organizations in order to serve their particular needs.

It is noteworthy that while spousal violence risk assessment tools are often designed to assess either risk of recidivism or lethality, investigative checklists or case management tools do not have predictive value. However, in speaking with jurisdictional officials, these instruments serve an important purpose in facilitating efforts to:

  1. develop an appropriate safety plan and response to threats for victims;
  2. raise awareness among front-line police officers regarding the issues and risk factors surrounding spousal violence;
  3. provide evidence for pre-trial and post-sentence decisions; and,
  4. assist in developing risk/need plans for spousal violence offenders.

The chart that follows provides a summary of spousal violence risk assessment tools, investigative checklists, case management tools and protocols.[1] It is organized by the province or territory where they are in use. Descriptions of these tools are then presented in alphabetical order by the title of the tool.

4.1 Summary by Jurisdiction

Province or Territory Spousal Violence Risk Assessment Tools/Investigative Checklists/Case Management Tools/Protocols
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) (Correctional Services)
  • Level of Service Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) (Adult Probation Services)
  • Violence in Relationship Investigative Checklist (RCMP)
  • Spousal/Partner Abuse, Assault Court Package Supplement (RCMP)
Prince Edward Island
  • Domestic Violence Police Investigation Checklist (municipal police departments and RCMP)
  • Level of Service Inventory–Revised (LSI-R) (Community and Correctional Services)
  • Woman/Spousal Abuse Protocols in the following sectors: Police, Probation Services, Victim Services, Adult Custody, Family Law Centre, Clinical Services, Turning Point Program, Financial Assistance and Hospital Emergency Rooms
  • Court Information Package (police, RCMP)
  • Decision-Making Assessment Protocol for Domestic Violence (D-MAP DV) (Probation Services)
Nova Scotia
  • High Risk Case Coordination Protocol Framework (police, Victim Services, Community Corrections staff, transition houses, men's intervention programs and child welfare)
  • Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) (RCMP, municipal police departments, military police and Correctional Services)[2]
  • Level of Service Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) (Correctional Services)[3]
  • Domestic Violence Inventory[4] (DVI) (Correctional Services )
  • Danger Assessment (transition houses, Child Welfare Services and Victim Services)
New Brunswick
  • Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (B-SAFER) (municipal police departments, RCMP, Moncton DV Court)[5]
  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) (Correctional and Probation Services)
  • Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) (Probation Services)
  • Aid to Safety Assessment Planning (ASAP) (Domestic Violence interveners and Victim Services)
  • Risk Management System (Child Protection Services)
  • Provincial Court-Domestic Violence, Moncton (Prosecution Services, Probation Services, Victim Services, Courts, Legal Aid Services and police departments rely upon their respective Risk Assessment tools and an RCMP district uses B-Safer and is piloting the use of a police Checklist Form ED6092 and ED6093)
  • Level of Service Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) (Probation Services, provincial institution staff)
  • Danger Assessment (Victim Services and Domestic Violence Interveners)
  • Woman Victims of Abuse Protocols- Government response to woman abuse
Québec
  • Guide d'Intervention Info-Social pour prévenir les homicides intrafamiliaux (Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux)
  • Cross-sectoral memoranda on domestic violence intervention (Agences de la Santé et des Services Sociaux du Québec, police services, judicial services, correctional services, shelters for female victims of domestic violence, victims of crime assistance centres, organizations that help violent men, and other regional partners)
  • Tool to assess the level to which the safety of victims of domestic violence and of their loved ones is compromised (Carrefour Sécurité en violence conjugale)
  • Preventing Domestic Homicide of Women: An Intervention Guide (Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Family Violence and Violence against Women (CRI-VIFF) in collaboration with the Fédération des resources d'hébergement pour femmes violentées et en difficulté)
  • Intervenir auprès des hommes en vue de prévenir l'homicide conjugal (CRI-VIFF in collaboration with the Association à cœur d'homme – Réseau d'aide aux hommes pour une société sans violence)
  • Prévenir l'homicide de la conjointe – Aide-mémoire (Drouin, Christine, Myriam Dubé and Jocelyn Lindsay in collaboration with Gilles Rondeau, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal and the Service de police de la Ville de Québec)
Ontario
  • OPP Criminal Behavioural Analysis Unit – Threat Assessment (OPP unit responsible for providing investigative assistance, support and training in the management of all occurrences that have a potential for targeted violence.
  • Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) (OPP Threat Assessment Unit, other police services)
  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) (OPP Threat Assessment Unit)
  • Domestic Violence Supplementary Report Form (DVSRF) (police, currently under review by the Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections Services)
  • Bail Safety Program Interview Checklist (police)
Manitoba
  • Family Violence Risk Factor Checklist (Victim Services )
  • Professional assessment by social workers
  • Level of Service/Case Management Inventory – LS/CMI (Adult Correctional Centres and Adult Probation Services)
Saskatchewan
  • Saskatchewan Primary Risk Assessment (SPRA)(Probation Services)
  • Offender Risk Assessment Management System –Primary Risk Assessment (ORAMS-PRA) (Correctional Services)
  • Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) (provincial correctional centres,Probation Services, domestic violence caseworkers associated with domestic violence courts and police-based victim services programs)
Alberta
  • Threat assessment is performed by the Integrated Threat and Risk Assessment Centre (I-TRAC) to offer assistance to all law enforcement and criminal justice agencies; including prosecutors and corrections, in the management of high risk non-domestic, domestic violence, criminal harassment and stalking occurrences. I-TRAC offers access to certified threat assessors and a forensic psychologist and a representative from Alberta Human Services.
  • Family Violence Investigation Report (FVIR) (RCMP, municipal police and First Nations police services)
  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) ( I-TRAC)
  • Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) (I-TRAC)
  • Stalking Assessment and Management (SAM) (police, RCMP, I-TRAC)
  • HCR-20 (police, RCMP , I-TRAC)
  • Risk of Sexual Violence Protocol (RSVP) (I-TRAC)
  • Psychopathy Checklist (I-TRAC)
  • Static 99 (I-TRAC)
British Columbia
  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) (Correctional Services, Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit, Vancouver Police Department)
  • B-SAFER (revised version) (RCMP, municipal police)
  • Aid to Safety Assessment Planning (ASAP)[6] (Victim Services)
  • Stalking and Assessment Management (SAM) (Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit, Vancouver Police Department and the Behavioural Sciences Unit of the RCMP, Surrey, British Columbia)
  • HCR-20 (Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit, Vancouver Police Department and the Behavioural Sciences RCMP, Surrey, British Columbia)
  • Threat Assessment Questions for Field Personnel (Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit, Vancouver Police Department)
  • Summary of Domestic Violence Risk Factors (Police Online Training Investigative Job Aid) (Police)
  • Violence in Relationships – Investigative Procedures Guide (RCMP)
  • Factors to Consider When Domestic Violence Safety Planning (the tool is available for use by all government-funded victim support workers)
  • Protocol for Highest Risk Cases (police, Crown, child protection, corrections, victim services)
Northwest Territories
  • Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) (RCMP, shelter workers, victim services)
  • Currently reviewing tools used by Alberta (RCMP)
  • Yellowknife Interagency Family Violence Protocol (involves YWCA Alison McAteer House (local family violence shelter), Centre for Northern Families, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, NWT Regional Office, Yellowknife RCMP Detachment, Stanton Territorial Health Authority, Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority, Canada/NWT Service Centre, Income Security Programs and Yellowknife Victim Services)
Yukon
  • Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) (Correctional and Probation Services, RCMP)
  • Level of Service Inventory –Revised (LSI-R) (Probation Services)
Nunavut
  • Offender Risk Assessment Management System –Primary Risk Assessment (ORAMS-PRA) (Correctional Services)
  • Currently reviewing LS/CMI for future use (Correctional Services)


  • [1] The terminology used throughout this report (e.g. risk assessment, threat assessment, danger assessment) reflects the terms provided by the jurisdictions.
  • [2] In Nova Scotia, Correctional Services will use the ODARA for case management purposes when one has not been completed by police and/or for prioritizing candidates’ selection for the in-house domestic violence education program –Respectful Relationships.
  • [3] LS/CMI is an optional risk assessment tool as of January 2009.
  • [4] The DVI is an optional risk assessment tool as of January 2009.
  • [5] Municipal Police across New Brunswick are transitioning to a single risk assessment tool, ODARA.
  • [6] Collaborative efforts between victim services and criminal justice personnel have been established locally in some areas of the province.

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