The average predictive validity of intimate partner violence risk assessment instruments

J Interpers Violence. 2013 May;28(7):1537-58. doi: 10.1177/0886260512468250. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


The field of intimate partner violence (IPV) risk assessment (predicting recidivism, lethality) is fast growing, and the majority of research examining the predictive validity of IPV risk assessment instruments has been conducted in the past decade. This study examines the average predictive validity weighted by sample size of five stand alone IPV risk assessment instruments that have been validated in multiple research studies using the Receiver Operating Characteristic Area Under the Curve (AUC). The Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) has the highest average weighted AUC (=.666, k=5) followed, in order of most to least predictive, by the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA; AUC=.628, k=6), the Danger Assessment (DA; AUC=.618, k=4), the Domestic Violence Screening Inventory (DVSI; AUC=.582, k=3), and the Kingston Screening Instrument for Domestic Violence (K-SID; AUC=.537, k=2). The effect size for the average AUCs for IPV risk assessment instruments is small, with the exception of a medium effect size for the ODARA. Of the 20 measures of predictive validity included in this analysis, the risk assessment was administered correctly in nine (45%). IPV risk assessment is relatively new, and the use of proxy instruments and utilization of risk assessment instruments in settings for which they were not created is widespread. While waiting for a more rigorous body of research, factors in addition to predictive validity must be taken into consideration (e.g., setting, outcome, skills of the assessor, access to information) when choosing which risk assessment instrument is appropriate for use in a particular practice setting.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Confidence Intervals
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Sexual Partners*
  • United States