Domestic and family violence perpetrator screening and risk assessment in Queensland: Current practice and future opportunities

Two people sitting down talking

Following substantial domestic and family violence (DFV) reforms in Australia in recent years, the identification of victim-survivors is increasingly embedded across service system responses. In contrast, while men using DFV often have diverse service system contact for co-occurring issues, their use of DFV is often not identified.

This mixed-methods study examines current screening and risk assessment practices for DFV perpetration in service systems that frequently encounter men who may be using DFV, including mental health, alcohol and other drug services, corrections and child protection services. Results show significant variation in screening and risk assessment practices and attitudes across service areas.


URLs correct as at August 2022

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia. AIHW cat no. FDV6. Canberra: AIHW.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Family, domestic and family violence in Australia: Continuing the national story 2019: In brief. AIHW cat. no. FDV4. Canberra: AIHW.

Aziz MM & El-Gazzar AF 2019. Health care providers’ perceptions and practices of screening for domestic violence in Upper Egypt. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare 20: 93–99.

Bakon S, Taylor A, Meyer S & Scott M 2020. The provision of emergency healthcare for women who experience intimate partner violence: Part 2: Strategies to address knowledge deficits and negative attitudes. Emergency Nurse 28(4).

Bakon S, Taylor A, Meyer S & Scott M 2019. The provision of emergency healthcare for women who experience intimate partner violence: Part 1: An integrative review. Emergency Nurse 27(6).

Beck CJA & Raghavan C 2010. Intimate partner abuse careening in custody mediation: The importance of assessing coercive control. Family Court Review 48(3): 555–565.

Burge SK, Schneider FD, Ivy L & Catala S 2005. Patients’ advice to physicians about intervening in family conflict. Annals of Family Medicine 3: 248–254.

Chang JC, Cluss PA, Burke JG, Hawker L, Dado D, Goldstrohm S & Scholle SH 2011. Partner violence screening in mental health. General Hospital Psychiatry 33: 58–65.

Council of Australian Governments 2011. The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children: Including the first three-year action plan. Canberra: DSS.

Davis M & Padilla-Medina DM 2021. Brief Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration Screening Tools: A Scoping Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 22(4): 900–913.

DFVDRAB—see Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board

Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board 2021. 2020–21 Annual report. Brisbane: Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board.

Gilchrist G, Dennis F, Radcliff P, Henderson J, Howard LM & Gadd D 2019. The interplay between substance use and intimate partner violence perpetration: A meta-ethnography. International Journal of Drug Policy 65: 8–23.

Hegarty K, Taft A & Feder G 2008. Violence between intimate partners: Working with the whole family. British Medical Journal 337: a839.

Hester M et al. 2015. Occurrence and impact of negative behaviour, including domestic violence and abuse, in men attending UK primary care health clinics: A cross-sectional survey. British Medical Journal 5: 1–10.

Jenney A, Mishna F, Alaggia R & Scott K 2014. Doing the right thing? (Re) Considering risk assessment and safety planning in child protection work with domestic violence cases. Children and Youth Services Review 47: 92–101.

Kebbell MR 2019. Risk assessment for intimate partner violence: How can the police assess risk? Psychology, Crime & Law 25(8): 829–846.

Kimberg LS 2007. Addressing intimate partner violence with male patients: A review and introduction of pilot guidelines. International Journal of General Medicine 23(12): 2071–2078.

Kraanen FL, Vedel E, Scholing A & Emmelkamp PMG 2013. Screening on perpetration and victimization of intimate partner violence (IPV): Two studies on the validity of an IPV screening instrument in patients in substance abuse treatment. PLoS ONE 8(5): e6368–e63681.

Maple E & Kebbell M 2021. Responding to domestic and family violence: A qualitative study on the changing perceptions of frontline police officers. Violence Against Women 27(12–13): 2377–2398.

McEwan TE, Shea DE & Ogloff JRP 2019. The development of the VP-SAFvR: An actuarial instrument for police triage of Australian family violence reports. Criminal Justice and Behavior 46(4): 590–607.

Messing JT & Thaller J 2013. The average predictive validity of intimate partner violence risk assessment instruments. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28(7): 1537–1558.

Meyer S, Helps N & Fitz-Gibbon K 2022. Domestic and family violence perpetrator focused screening and risk assessment: Identifying current practice and future opportunities. Report to the Criminology Research Advisory Council. CRG 33/19–20. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Morgan K, Williamson E, Hester M, Jones S & Feder G 2014. Asking men about domestic violence and abuse in a family medicine context: Help seeking and views on the general practitioner role. Aggression and Violent Behavior 19: 637–642.

Penti B, Timmons J & Adams D 2018. The role of the physician when a patient discloses intimate partner violence perpetration: A literature review. Clinical Review 31(4): 635–644.

Portnoy GA, Colon R, Gross GM, Adams LJ, Bastian LA & Iverson KM 2020. Patient and provider barriers, facilitators, and implementation preferences of intimate partner violence perpetration screening. BMC Health Services Research 20: 746.

Rabin RF, Jennings JM, Campbell JC & Bair-Merritt MH 2009. Intimate partner violence screening tools: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 36(5): 439–445.

Royal Commission into Family Violence 2016. Report and recommendations. Melbourne: Victorian Government.

Spangaro J 2017. What is the role of health systems in responding to domestic violence? An evidence review. Australian Health Review 41: 639–645.

Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland 2015. Not now, not ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland. Brisbane: Queensland Government.

Storey J, Kropp PR, Hart S, Belfrage H & Strand S 2014. Assessment and management of risk for intimate partner violence by police officers using the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk. Criminal Justice and Behavior 41(2): 256–271.

Tarzia L, Forsdike K, Feder G & Hegarty K 2017. Interventions in health settings for male perpetrators or victims of intimate partner violence. Trauma, Violence and Abuse 21(1): 1–15.

Todahl J & Walters E 2011. Universal screening for intimate partner violence: A systematic review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 37(3): 355–369.

Vaughan C et al. 2016. Promoting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women in metropolitan and regional Australia. The ASPIRE Project: Key findings and future directions. Sydney: Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

Verbruggen J, Blokland A, Robinson AL & Maxwell CD 2020. The relationship between criminal behaviour over the life-course and intimate partner violence perpetration in later life. European Journal of Criminology 17(6): 784–805.

World Health Organization 2021. Violence against women: Key facts.