Inventory of Spousal Violence Risk Assessment Tools Used in Canada

1. Introduction

In 2004, collaborative efforts between the Department of Justice Canada, the British Columbia Institute Against Family Violence (BCIFV) and P. Randall Kropp, Ph.D., Stephen D. Hart, Ph.D. and Henrik Belfrage, Ph.D. led to the development of the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (B-SAFER). The motivation behind the development of B-SAFER was to provide criminal justice professionals with a concise and user-friendly tool that would facilitate risk assessment, support victims in their safety planning and reinforce the ultimate goal of reducing risk to victims of spousal violence.

After the development of the B-SAFER tool, Department of Justice Canada officials working in the area of family violence agreed that it would useful to identify other spousal violence risk assessment tools currently being used by criminal justice personnel in Canada.

2. Objective

The original objective of this project was to identify which (if any) spousal violence risk assessment tools are currently being used by criminal justice personnel (e.g. police, corrections, probation officers) with the goal of preventing future risk and harm to victims of spousal violence in Canada.

3. Methodology

The Family Violence Initiative Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) List of Representatives was used as the initial point of contact following discussions at the FPT Family Violence meeting, held in August 2007. In some cases, additional or alternate contacts were made in order to provide a more thorough response. Each contact was asked which (if any) spousal violence risk assessment tools were being used by criminal justice personnel in their jurisdiction.

It was found that criminal justice personnel use a variety of tools and in some jurisdictions, work collaboratively with victim/social services. As such, the scope of this report was broadened to include risk assessment and case management tools, investigative checklists and protocols.

It is important to note that the tools, checklists and protocols outlined in this report are based on the current knowledge of the individuals contacted between January 2008 and September 2008 and is not exhaustive. It does, however, provide important and useful information that has not been gathered in this format and for this purpose. In fall 2008, a draft copy of the report was distributed via email to the jurisdictional officials who provided information for this inventory in addition to the authors of the tools in order to provide an opportunity for comments and to verify the information contained in this report.

3.1 Update

In 2012, the Ad Hoc Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Family Violence was used as a point of contact to request updates to this Inventory. Representatives were asked to provide information on any changes to the risk assessment tools and protocols used in their jurisdiction. As a result, information from the following jurisdictions has been updated: Prince Edward Island, Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories.