Cops' new tool to predict domestic violence

By Hamish McNeilly of the Otago Daily Times

The tool was developed specifically to predict re-assault in partner relationships. Photo / Thinkstock
The tool was developed specifically to predict re-assault in partner relationships. Photo / Thinkstock

Police will soon be trained in a new tool capable of predicting the likelihood of domestic violence.

From July 1, police will have access to the Ontario domestic assault risk assessment (ODARA), in an effort to reduce family violence incidents, which at present occur every six minutes across the country.

The tool was developed specifically to predict re-assault in partner relationships; including heterosexual violence, same-sex violence, dating violence, male on female violence and female on male.

"The ODARA tool is the most valid risk assessment tool currently available internationally and the most accurate tool to assess the likelihood of re-assault." Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Gregory, Southern District child protection and family violence coordinator, said.

The tool would enhance police response to family violence, with staff to receive training before to its launch, he said.

"It's another tool for police staff to use to help families suffering from violence and to ensure we provide the best response that we can. The tool will strengthen our capability to obtain an accurate assessment of family violence risk."

In addition to being able to accurately assess risk and likelihood of re-assault for "intimate partner violence", police had also developed a risk factor for children in homes where violence is occurring.

"This will help identify children potentially most at risk and to pass this information on to those who work in the area of child protection."

Det Sgt Gregory said police had shifted their focus from reactive responses to prevention, with family violence co-ordinators in place in all police areas nationwide.

"We are always actively working, both in practical ways and strategically, with our partner agencies to provide the best possible inter-agency response."

A family violence interagency response group meets regularly at local levels, including Child, Youth and Family, police and Women's Refuge.

"In larger centres, such as Dunedin, there's a wider group that includes the DHB, Stopping Violence and Victim Support."

- Otago Daily Times

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