Family Violence – Preliminary Assessment tool

The Family Violence Preliminary Assessment tool is a standardized screening instrument designed to assess the risk of family violence. It is used by healthcare providers, social workers, and other professionals to identify individuals who may be at risk of experiencing or perpetrating family violence. The tool consists of a series of questions that are designed to assess the presence of risk factors associated with family violence. These risk factors include the presence of substance abuse, mental health issues, a history of violence, and other factors. The tool is designed to be used as part of a comprehensive assessment of the individual and their environment. The results of the assessment can be used to inform decisions about the safety of the individual, their family, and the community. The tool is meant to be used as a starting point for further assessment and intervention.
Risk or vulnerability factor
·         Pregnancy/new birth* 
·         Depression/ mental health issue 
·         Drug and/or alcohol misuse/abuse 
·         Has ever verbalised or had suicidal ideas or tried to commit suicide 
·         Isolation 
·         Use of weapon in most recent event* 
·         Access to weapons* 
·         Has ever harmed or threatened to harm victim 
·         Has ever tried to choke the victim* 
·         Has ever threatened to kill victim*  
·         Has ever harmed or threatened to harm or kill children* 
·         Has ever harmed or threatened to harm or kill other family members 
·         Has ever harmed or threatened to harm or kill pets or other animals* 
·         Has ever threatened or tried to commit suicide* 
·         Stalking of victim* 
·         Sexual assault of victim* 
·         Previous or current breach of intervention order 
·         Drug and/or alcohol misuse/abuse* 
·         Obsession/jealous behaviour toward victim* 
·         Controlling behaviour* 
·         Unemployed* 
·         Depression/mental health issue# 
·         History of violent behaviour (not family violence) 
·         Recent separation* 
·         Escalation – increase in severity and/or frequency of violence* 
·         Financial difficulties
* May indicate an increased risk of the victim being killed or almost killed.
# Mental health issues such as depression and paranoid psychosis‚ which focuses on the victim as hostile‚ are high risk factors when they are present in conjunction with other risk factors‚ particularly a previous history of violence.
Presence of factor: Yes‚ No
This instrument can be found at:
Family Violence- Risk Assessment and Risk Management: Framework and Practice Guides 1-3
Family Violence- Risk Assessment and Risk Management: Participant Handbook Practice Guide 2
Family Violence- Risk Assessment for Specialist Family Violence Workers: Participant Handbook Practice Guide 3

Victorian Government‚ (2007)‚ Family Violence: Risk Assessment and Risk Management‚ Melbourne: Department of Victorian Communities.