The Validity and Reliability of Available Intimate Partner Homicide and Reassault Risk Assessment Tools: A Systematic Review

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2021 Jan;22(1):18-40. doi: 10.1177/1524838018821952. Epub 2019 Jan 22.


At least one in seven homicides around the world is perpetrated by intimate partners. The danger of intimate partner homicide (IPH) associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) has led to the development of numerous IPV reassault and IPH risk assessment tools. Using 18 electronic databases and research repositories, we conducted a systematic review of IPH or IPV reassault risk assessment instruments. After review, 43 studies reported in 42 articles met inclusion criteria. We systematically extracted, analyzed, and synthesized data on tools studied, sample details, data collection location, study design, analysis methods, validity, reliability, and feasibility of use. Findings indicate that researchers in eight countries have tested 18 distinct IPH or IPV reassault risk assessment tools. The tools are designed for various professionals including law enforcement, first responders, and social workers. Twenty-six studies focused on assessing the risk of male perpetrators, although eight included female perpetrators. Eighteen studies tested tools with people in mixed-sex relationships, though many studies did not explicitly report the gender of both the perpetrators and victims/survivors. The majority of studies were administered or coded by researchers rather than administered in real-world settings. Reliable and valid instruments that accurately and feasibly assess the risk of IPH and IPV reassault in community settings are necessary for improving public safety and reducing violent deaths. Although researchers have developed several instruments assessing different risk factors, systematic research on the feasibility of using these instruments in practice settings is lacking.

Keywords: assessment; cultural contexts; domestic violence; homicide; predicting domestic violence.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Homicide*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sexual Partners