Assistant Professor Laurie Graham is the lead author of "The Danger Assessment: A tool for preventing intimate partner homicide." The work is a chapter in the new book Handbook of interpersonal violence across the lifespan.
Despite recent decreases, intimate partner homicide (IPH) remains a significant problem in the United States. Although men are 3.4 times more likely to be murdered than women overall, among homicide victims, women are almost six times more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner than men. Two-thirds to three-quarters of female IPH victims were abused by that partner before being murdered; when women kill male partners, prior intimate partner violence (IPV) committed against the female partner is present approximately 75% of the time. Assessing the risk of IPV re-assault and IPH constitutes a promising prevention strategy with the potential to save the lives of individuals being abused by current or former intimate partners, the abusing partners, and both partners’ loved ones. Professionals working in health care, social services, shelter, and criminal justice settings are well-positioned to engage in risk assessment and risk-informed safety planning. This chapter provides an overview of risk factors for IPH and a review of the development and testing of the Danger Assessment (DA) – the only IPV risk assessment instrument designed and tested specifically to predict IPH risk. Additionally, details on six extensions of the DA, developed for specific survivor groups and settings, are provided. We conclude with a discussion of risk assessment as an IPH prevention strategy and a concrete example of how the DA and its extensions can be skillfully used as tools for safety planning in a health-care setting with the aim of preventing repeat violence and death.