Danger Assessment - Lethality Risk

  • A useful resource to use with a client is the Danger Assessment Scale developed by Dr. Jacqueline Campbell, a nurse-researcher at Johns Hopkins. This is a well-researched instrument to assess lethality risk for women (only) and is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese at this time. Assuming you have not been trained to score it, you and the client can still use it to raise a client's awareness of the risk-indicators for lethal violence.
  • We cannot always predict deadly assault. However, a few indicators have been found to be highly associated with lethal violence. (These are taken from Maryland's Domestic violence lethality screen for first responders). A positive response to any of this first three is a "red flag." Positive responses to four or more of the remaining questions are as well.
    • Prior use of a weapon against the client or threats to use a weapon
    • Threats to kill client or children
    • Client's belief that partner might try to kill her/him
    • Access to weapons
    • Prior choking or attempted choking of client
    • Obsessive jealousy and/or control of most of client's daily activities.
    • Client has separated from partner after living together
    • Partner's unemployment
    • Partner's suicide attempts
    • Client has a child that partner knows is not his/hers
    • Partner follows or spies on client or leaves threatening messages.

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