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Risk assessment tool

Domestic Abuse Stalking and Harassment - assessment tool

The Care Act 2014 establishes a duty to assess individuals whom are suggested to have care and support needs.

DASH is a risk identification tool for trained professionals, which provides a consistent way to establish and record types of domestic abuse, the risk factors and the risk levels in what is essentially a multi-agency common language.  

Ideally, all social workers should be trained to use the DASH (2009) tool, yet using it to framework your assessments when domestic violence or abuse is present or an identified potential, will support social workers contextual understanding irrespective of officially training. If you have not been specifically trained in using DASH assessment tool, please ask your superior; they should be happy to support this.

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Helps create a bigger picture

First response social workers should work in partnership with their supervisors to identify risk factors, who is at risk and what level of risk to establish what level of intervention is required.

Using this tool, all questions should be asked and comprehensive answers provided in the box provided (the boxes will expand as you fill them).

Appropriate searches and databases should be checked and information included within the DASH when it is required (such as criminal record checks for previous Domestic Violence or Abuse involvement). the presence and details of children must be included on the DASH, even by adult social care practitioners.

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More than a tick box

Initiating the DASH risk assessment at the earliest opportunity possible, not only supports your knowledge as a practitioner, yet enables the individual to begin to recognise the level of risk they are living in. DASH supports the onset of those challenging conversations and opens the gateway to identifying appropriate and relevant interventions.

When completing the DASH assessment, whilst you are expected to tick the boxes and count the score, it is there to guide overall judgements; it is not a tick box exercise! You can get a score of 5, but if that includes that she has been threatened by weapons, has recently separated and is being harassed. This should be a tool to guide conversations and feeds the information for a MARAC meeting. However the DASH should not be seen as a determinate tool. Professional judgement is fundamental.

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DASH is only the beginning

Whilst DASH risk assessment tool is unequivocally helpful in identifying and gauging the types and level of risk an individual faces, it is important to remember that completing this, has not actioned support and intervention for individuals.

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Practice improves performance

Practitioners should spend some time familiarising themselves with this assessment tool, prior to use, to optimise best outcomes for those being supported (BASW, 2012).

Please use the link below to view an example of a DASH assessment and a helpful checklist.

Potential indicating factors which may support assessment

The below lists are helpful to consider during assessments. These are by no means exhaustive lists, yet offer a point of referral of things to consider when trying to identify domestic violence and abuse.

A few indications of risk

  • Attending appointments with them.

  • Monitoring their phone.

  • Falling out with support networks.

  • Stopping them from socialising.

  • Jealous of children or pets.

  • Moving away from home town.

  • Overtly worried about their partner’s response toward trivial.

  • Unrealistic expectations ingrained into their daily life.

  • Resistant to services.

  • Perpetual anxiety, depression and other mental ill-health or suicidal thoughts and tendencies; this can be an indication of risk when it is found in the perpetrators or victims.

  • Pinning someone up by their neck is significantly linked to fatality.

  • Having weapons in the house.

  • Sexual dominance and expectations of sexual servitude.

  • Forced to watch pornography.

  • Others in the community keeping ‘a track’ of a victims activities and associations on behalf of the perpetrator (particular relevant in honour-based violence, but can be prevalent in all forms of DVA).

  • History or abuse.

  • Criminal record.

  • Moving in together very quickly, being married quickly.

Some indications of risk increasing

  • Change in patterns of behaviour (new behaviours or heightened frequency)

  • Violence against pets or animals.

  • Having a new baby can change the status in the relationships; cause resentment of attention, increased jealousy and narcissistic tendencies, doubt or suspicion of being a biological parent, increased stress and lack of sleep.

  • Abuse continuing or worsening following a separation.

  • Separation is the time of greatest risk for DVA and homicides; imminent period of 3 months; attributed to a perpetrators loss of control. The separation is linked to high risk for two years.

  • Stalking and harassment following a separation are significantly linked with homicide.

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