Danger Assessment

The Danger Assessment helps to determine the level of danger an abused woman has of being killed by her intimate partner. It is free and available to the public. Using the Danger Assessment requires the weighted scoring and interpretation that is provided after completing the training. The Danger Assessment is available in a variety of languages.

Every year 3-4 million women in the U.S. are abused and 1,500-1,600 are killed by their abusers. The challenge for those who encounter abused women is to identify those with the highest level of danger. For 25 years, the Danger Assessment Instrument has been used by law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and domestic violence advocates. The training — offered in several forms on this website — provides instructions on how to score and interpret the instrument. Learn more about the Danger Assessment Instrument >

What is the training?

The training module, offered in several forms, 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.

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.

The Danger Assessment Website

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Filed under danger assessment tools, domestic violence, Domestic violence services, homicide, intimate partner violence, violence against women

Intimate Partner Violence in Rural U.S. Areas: What every nurse should know

Overview: Intimate partner violence is a major health care issue, affecting nearly 6% of U.S. women annually. Multiple mental and physical health problems are associated with intimate partner violence, and billions of health care dollars are spent in trying to address the consequences. Although prevalence rates of intimate partner violence are roughly the same in rural and nonrural areas, rural survivors face distinct barriers in obtaining help and services. Because rural women routinely access health care services in nonrural as well as rural settings, it’s essential that all providers understand the issues specific to rural survivors. Routine screening for intimate partner violence would create opportunities for women to disclose abuse and for providers to help victims obtain assistance and support that may keep them safer. This in turn would likely decrease serious health sequelae and lower health care costs. This article describes the unique aspects of intimate partner violence in rural populations. It also describes a simple screening tool that can be used in all settings, discusses ways to approach the topic and facilitate disclosure, and addresses interventions; relevant resources are also provided.


Rural survivors sometimes seek care in nonrural settings; indeed, most providers can expect to see such patients. All nurses, not just rural nurses, need to understand the unique issues faced by women who experience intimate partner violence in rural areas.

This article provides an overview of these issues and discusses the implications for practice.

From the American Journal of Nursing – Complete paper

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Filed under domestic violence, intimate partner violence, medical screening, rural battered women, rural violence

Domestic Violence Evidence Project

The Domestic Violence Evidence Project, an initiative of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), is designed “to respond to the growing emphasis on identifying and integrating ‘evidence-based practice’. It combines research, evaluation, practice and theory to inform critical decision-making by domestic violence programs and allies.”

DV programs engage in a wide range of activities designed to positively impact the social and emotional well-being for both survivors and their children. Specifically, they work to increase women’s and children’s sense of self-efficacy as well as their hope for the future, and directly increase their access to community resources, opportunities, and supports (including social support). While the actual services may differ across agencies — emergency shelter, counseling, advocacy, transitional housing, supervised visitation, children’s programs, support groups — services for both survivors and their children tend to share key features, including ideally the involvement of survivors in their design and development.

This website presents “what we know about services to adult victims of domestic violence from the empirical evidence that is available and from emerging and promising evidence from the field. Also included is a conceptual framework, research bibliography, and evaluation tools.”

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Special Collection: Intimate Partner Homicide Prevention

Intimate Partner Homicide Prevention - From the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women Special Collections

The most tragic consequence of domestic violence is undoubtedly the death of one or both intimate partners, and in some cases, their children or family and friends of the victim. Intimate partner homicide is the final assertion of power and control in an abusive relationship and, paradoxically, an acknowledgment of the abuser’s loss of control.

This collection offers resources to support the expansion of services and systems’ responses that are critically important to the prevention and continued decline of intimate partner homicides.

Much is known about the risk factors that increase the danger that victim will be killed by her intimate partner. The predominant risk factor for intimate partner homicide is prior physical abuse, particularly physical assaults that have recently escalated in frequency and severity (Block, 2003). Other risk factors identified in the research include stalking, estrangement (physical leaving, legal separation, etc.); strangulation (choking) during an assault; threats to kill; prior use of or access to weapons, especially firearms; forced sex; controlling, possessive, jealous behavior; drug and/or alcohol abuse; and, to lesser degrees, the presence in the household of children who are not the batterer’s biological offspring; and unemployment of the batterer (Roehl, O’Sullivan, Webster, & Campbell, 2005 & Campbell et al., 2003a).

Sadly, leaving an abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily end the violence, and therefore leaving isn’t always the safest choice for victims. In fact, “the extant research literature shows that women experience an increased risk of lethal violence when they leave intimate relationships with men” (Websdale, 1999). It is essential that helping professionals become familiar with lethality risk factors so that they can best minimize these risks and support the informed choices of domestic violence survivors.

“If I die, I want you to tell the world what happened to me. I don’t want other women to suffer as I have suffered. I want them to be listened to.” ~ Maria Teresa Macias

This collection provides:

•national and statewide homicide statistics that help illustrate the scope of the problem;
•an overview of tools and strategies for assessing danger or the risk of lethality in domestic violence cases;
•recommendations and approaches for utilizing the fatality review process to prevent intimate partner homicide;
•materials describing various systems’ responses to domestic violence and efforts to prevent homicide;
•resources to assist advocates in helping to frame the issue through media response and community mobilization; and
•resources addressing the grief and trauma experienced by loved ones of those whose lives are lost to domestic violence.

This resource was developed by VAWnet and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

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Filed under battered women, domestic violence, Domestic violence services, homicide, intimate partner violence, research, violence against women

Domestic Violence Murder and Guns

A Mother Jones article on the Texas man who killed his wife’s sister and her family asks why the killer was able to have guns even though he was under a domestic violence restraining order, and reviews federal and state laws regarding gun possession for domestic violence attackers and stalkers.


Read the complete story

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Filed under battered women, domestic violence, domestic violence law, gun control, restraining orders, stalking, victims of crime, violence against women

Why doesn’t she just leave? Because society says she’s a bad single mom when she does?

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

We reprint this article from New York Times not to detract from the two-parent family, but to point out how battered women are blamed when they don’t “just leave” but are labeled as bad parents if they are single mothers.

AFTER spending two years studying services for domestic violence survivors, I was surprised to realize that one of the most common barriers to women’s safety was something I had never considered before: the high value our culture places on two-parent families.

I began my research in 2011, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than one-third of American women are assaulted by an intimate partner during their lives. I talked to women in communities that ranged from a small rural mining town to a large global city, in police stations, criminal courts, emergency shelters, job placement centers and custody proceedings. I found that almost all of the women with children I interviewed had maintained contact with their abusers. Why?

Many had internalized a public narrative that equated marriage with success. Women experiencing domestic abuse are told by our culture that being a good mother means marrying the father of her children and supporting a relationship between them. According to a 2010 Pew report, 69 percent of Americans say single mothers without male partners to help raise their children are bad for society, and 61 percent agree that a child needs a mother and a father to grow up happily.

The awareness of the stigma of single motherhood became apparent to me when I met a young woman who was seven months pregnant. She had recently left her abusive boyfriend and was living in a domestic violence shelter. When I asked if she thought the relationship was over, she responded, “As far as being together right now, I don’t want to be together. But I do hope that in the future — because my mind puts it out there like, O.K., I don’t want to be a statistic.” When she said this, I assumed she was referring to domestic violence statistics. But she continued: “I don’t want to be this young pregnant mom who they say never lasts with the baby’s father. I don’t want to be like that.”

Shame about not meeting certain standards of motherhood was prevalent in upper-middle-class families, too. Women with professional and social prominence often feared tarnishing the veneer of their perfect-looking lives. Others were afraid of being judged for putting their children at risk by choosing a dangerous partner. One explained that she kept her abuse a secret because “I was embarrassed by the things I was seeing; I couldn’t let people know that he wasn’t the husband and provider we pretended he was.” Regardless of who they were, most survivors were acutely aware of how their victimization would influence their public identities as mothers.

The truly alarming part, however, is the extent to which the institutions that are intended to assist domestic violence survivors — protection order courts, mental health services, public benefits programs and child custody systems — reinforce this stigma with both official policies and ingrained prejudices.

Mental health professionals, law enforcement officials, judges and members of the clergy often showed greater concern for the maintenance of a two-parent family than for the safety of the mother and her children. Women who left abusive men were frequently perceived at best as mothers who had not successfully kept their children out of harm’s way and at worst as liars who were alienating children from their fathers.

In court, I watched a judge order the very first woman I interviewed to drop off her son at his father’s house every week for visitation. When she tried to tell the judge that she had a protection order against her child’s father and that she was concerned for her safety, the judge responded: “You know what? You are just trying to keep this child from his father, aren’t you?”

I saw women lose custody rights because they had moved with their children to friends’ houses or even into domestic violence shelters to escape abuse, and judges considered these “unsuitable living arrangements.” The children were sent back to their abusive fathers, who could provide “more stability.”

Another survivor I spoke with was tangled in a custody battle with her former boyfriend, who was also being prosecuted in criminal court for injuring their children. One afternoon, we sat outside the town’s courthouse. She had just lost two additional days a week of custody to the children’s father. The primary evidence against her was a picture of her drinking a cocktail, illustrating her apparent unsuitability as a mother. She said: “I tried to get my kids out before things got really bad, and the court was like, ‘Where are the bruises? It’s not so bad. Why are you alienating the kids from Dad?’ Next time they said, ‘Why didn’t you get out? Why didn’t you protect the kids?’ They want you to get away from the abuse and then they make it so hard.”

The very system meant to punish perpetrators and protect survivors of violence bound the two more tightly together. This reality deeply affected women’s choices; many calculated that they would rather live in abusive homes with their children than risk leaving them alone.

Since returning from my fieldwork, I have been struck by the pervasive narrative across the ideological spectrum regarding the value of two-parent families. To be sure, children who enjoy the support of two adults fare better on average than those who do not, and parents with loving partners often benefit from greater emotional and economic security. However, I have seen the ways in which prioritizing two-parent families tethers victims of violence to their assailants, sacrifices safety in the name of parental rights and helps batterers maintain control. Sweeping rhetoric about the value of marriage and father involvement is not just incomplete. For victims of domestic violence, it’s dangerous.


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Filed under battered women, children, domestic violence

Safe at Home – Softball Tournament Benefits S.H.A.R.E., Inc.


The Schmeeckle Brothers Construction Company team won the Safe at Home Softball Tournament, an annual fundraiser to benefit the S.H.A.R.E., Inc. Morgan County Domestic Violence Program, held Saturday, June 7 at the Joslin-Needham Softball Complex in Brush.

Cargill Team

Cargill was the Event Sponsor, shown above with Jan Schiller, Executive Director on left, and Jerilyn Hall, Board President on right


Winner – Men’s Homerun Contest – Matt Rocha, with his pitcher on the left.


Winner – Women’s Homerun Contest – Kelly Harding.

Funds go directly to assist battered women and their children in Morgan County and outlying areas.

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Filed under domestic violence, Domestic violence services