What is the Danger Assessment?

The Danger Assessment is an instrument that helps to determine the level of danger an abused woman has of being killed by her intimate partner. The tool was originally developed by Jacquelyn Campbell (1986) with consultation and content validity support from battered women, shelter workers, law enforcement officials, and other clinical experts on battering. There are two parts to the tool: a calendar and a 20-item scoring instrument.

The calendar helps to assess severity and frequency of battering during the past year. The woman is asked to mark the approximate days when physically abusive incidents occurred, and to rank the severity of the incident on a 1 to 5 (1=slap, pushing, no injuries and/or lasting pain through 5=use of weapon, wounds from weapon) scale. The calendar portion was conceptualized as a way to raise the consciousness of the woman and reduce the denial and minimization of the abuse, especially since using a calendar increases accurate recall in other situations (Campbell, 1995; Ferraro et al., 1983).

The 20-item instrument uses a weighted system to score yes/no responses to risk factors associated with intimate partner homicide. Some of the risk factors include past death threats, partner’s employment status, and partner’s access to a gun.

In 2008, researcher Nancy Glass and colleagues published study findings in the American Journal of Public Health that revised the Danger Assessment (DA-R) to predict reassault in abusive female same-sex relationships.  After using focus groups and interviews to examine the DA with this population and identify new risk factors, a same-sex tool was developed and evaluated. The new tool comprises 8 original DA items and 10 new items, and is a predictor of risk of reassault, not lethality.  This instrument is available for download on the website; we recommend that you review the associated PowerPoint presentation before using the tool with victims which is available on your My Account page after you have become certified in using the Danger Assessment.
A short four-item version called the Lethality Assessment has been developed for use by law enforcement officials responding to domestic violence calls.  Women at high risk are then referred to advocates who have been trained in the Danger Assessment. Click here to learn more about the Lethality Assessment.
An additional version for use with immigrant women will be available shortly.  Check this website periodically for updates.

What is the training?

The training module, offered in several forms on this website, provides instructions on how to score and interpret the tool. The presentation gives background information about the development of the tool and its importance to anyone interacting with abused women. It also explains the weighted scoring of the tool, which is vital to accurately determining the level of danger for the woman. In the training, Dr. Campbell gives recommendations for follow-up for the different score levels.

Who should be trained to use the Danger Assessment?

The challenge for those who encounter abused women is to identify those with the highest level of danger. For 25 years, the Danger Assessment tool has been used by law enforcement, health care professionals, and domestic violence advocates.

What are the benefits of certification? 

After successfully completing the post test for the training, you will be certified in using the Danger Assessment. You will be able to download a certificate with your name on it, a scoring page that you can use to put in case files for documentation, and the scoring system worksheet which includes the scoring system’s danger level interpretation, personalized with your name, to more accurately determine the level of danger your victim is in. This documentation has proven to be valuable for use in court proceedings.