Risk Assessments


The most widely used risk assessment is the CAADA-DASH. The acronym stands for Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse – Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour based violence and it is based on research about the indicators of high-risk domestic abuse. The Dash risk checklist is available in several languages, as is guidance on how to use the tool http://www.safelives.org.uk/.

You can download the Cambridgeshire form from the Cambridgeshire Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website at www.cambsdasv.org.uk.

The checklist can be used for all intimate partner relationships, including LGBT relationships, as well as for ’honour’-based violence and family violence. It is primarily intended for professionals – both specialist domestic violence workers such as IDVAs and other professionals working for mainstream services. There is a specific police version of the risk checklist, known as the ACPO version, which is used by most police forces in England and Wales.

The simple series of questions makes it easy to work out the risk a victim is facing. Where possible, the checklist should be completed with the victim. As well as using the scoring mechanism, professional judgement of risk must be used.

In Cambridgeshire, the threshold for referring a case to the IDVA Service is a score of 17 or more, or professional judgement of high risk. High risk means that the victim is at significant risk of murder and/or serious injury and needs urgent help. These victims should be referred to the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) where all the relevant local agencies will come together to make a plan to make the victim safe.

Refuges and Outreach Services

DASH’s with a score of 14-16 should still be referred to the IDVA Service but will need client consent. A score of below 14 on the CAADA-DASH should be carefully considered to ensure the most appropriate support is offered to the victim.

There are three refuges in Cambridgeshire for women fleeing domestic abuse. It is not advisable for women to be housed in the area that they live or an area that they have close connections to as this makes it easier for the perpetrator to find them.

In Cambridgeshire, both Women’s Aid and Refuge offer outreach support in the community. More details can be found on the Cambridgeshire Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website at www.cambsdasv.org.uk

Where a crime has been committed, the Cambridgeshire Victims and Witness Hub can offer support and help with accessing services. More information about the Victims’ Hub is available on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website https://www.cambs.police.uk/victims/VictimsHub/

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC)

The aims of a MARAC are to:

  • Safeguard adult victims at high risk of future domestic violence.
  • Make links with other public protection arrangements, such as people presenting a risk to children or vulnerable adults.
  • Safeguard staff working with the family.

Representatives of the below statutory and voluntary organisations attend the meeting:

  • local police
  • health
  • housing practitioners
  • independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs)
  • probation
  • children and adults safeguarding
  • substance misuse services
  • other specialists

In Cambridgeshire, a MARAC meeting is held 3 times per week. It is preferable to have the consent of the victim before making a referral to MARAC but it is not essential.

You can learn about how to make a referral to MARAC on the Cambridgeshire Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website at www.cambsdasv.org

Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA’s) provide an independent service offering crisis intervention and support to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Crisis support is defined as being short-term following a reported incident of abuse.

The IDVA team are employed by Cambridgeshire County Council and based at a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) at Godmanchester, Huntingdon.

The Cambs IDVA team work across the county. In addition, there are specialist IDVA’s for:

  • Young people 13-19 years.
  • Victims and survivors from Eastern European A8 countries.
  • Victims and survivors whose referrals come from Health Professionals.
  • The Health IDVA’s are based at Hospitals.

IDVA’s are able to:

  • Talk through clients’ options and give information to help them make decisions.
  • Advocate with other partner services on behalf of their clients.
  • Assist with personal safety planning for clients and their children in order to reduce risk;
  • Support clients through the civil and criminal justice system.
  • Support/options given regarding housing and alternative safe accommodation.
  • Provide emotional support.

Support is available via telephone or by appointment in a face-to-face meeting. Clients can only be referred with their consent and contact takes place at safe times and in safe locations. IDVAs are able to offer advice to professionals on risk and services. The Service does not accept referrals from DV victims, only via professionals. Professionals can refer by using the CAADA-DASH questionnaire.

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