Risk for Domestic Violence: Factors Associated with Perpetration and Victimization

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The extent and potential dangerousness of the problem of domestic violence warrants systematic screening and assessment in all mental health settings. Few empirical studies have approached the question of domestic violence with the aim of identifying risk markers, making it impossible to identify a particular characteristic or set of characteristics that can be used to identify individuals at risk for perpetrating or becoming the victims of domestic violence. However, there are a number of factors that have been identified as correlates of domestic violence that may eventually prove useful for identifying individuals at risk, but the extant literature does not provide the empirical support at this time. Because many of these correlates may be brought to the attention of mental health and medical professionals (e.g., depression, substance use/abuse, physical injuries) and given the absence of established risk factors for domestic violence, there is a need for clinicians to systematically assess for violence among all of their patients. By identifying factors that might help clinicians realize that many of their patients are at risk for domestic violence, we hope to encourage them to attend to this potentially dangerous problem. Ongoing assessment in the context of knowledge regarding correlates of domestic violence can provide important information for evaluating risk of a particular violent incident. In addition, we outline strategies for assessing violence and violence risk in both perpetrators and victims in order to assist clinicians in approaching this difficult topic in a clinical setting. A careful assessment of the potential for violence within clients' ongoing relationships is necessary for clinicians to provide appropriate clinical care.


Related Topics

  • Behavioral Health
  • Fathers/Partners
  • Trauma