A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases
Hon. Jerry J. Bowles, Hon. Kaye K. Christian, Margaret B. Drew, and Katheryn L. Yetter; 2008

  • This tool is designed to provide guidance to judges in making custody and visitation decisions that maximize the child's ssafety in cases that might involve domestic violence. It provides information that can help jdges assess whether a child or parent is at risk for abuse, evaluate safety risks at various stages of a case, and draft custody and visitation orders that maximize family safety.

Assessing Risk to Children From Batterers
Lundy Bancroft and Jay G. Silverman; July, 2006

  • This newsletter proposes a model for the assessment of post-seperation risk to children from batterers as parents or guardians. It also reviews the physical, sexual, and psychological risks that batterers can pose to children, and describes the elements necessary for children's emotionl recovery from exposure to battering behaviour.

Assessing Social Risks of Battered Women
Radhiaa Jaaber and Shamita Das Dasgupta 

  • This article provides practitioners with information on how to conduct an effective and comprehensive assessment of the social risks of battered women in order to facilitate their safety, including assessing for immediate personal risks, cultural risks, and institutional risks.

Assessing the Risks to Children from Domestic Violence
Julie Healy and Madeleine Bell

  • This briefing paper documents the findings from two studies that piloted the use of Barnardo's Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Model used to assess the risk posed by domestic violence within families where children are present. Findings highlight the need for a specific assessment tool to help practitioners assess the risks presented by domestic violence for children and make decisions about the types of interventions needed.

Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) Resource Sheet: Asking Women About Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
Liz Wall; June, 2012

  • This resource sheet provides current information to health care service providers about how to approach the discussion of intimate partner sexual violence with their female patients and clients. It outlines the importance of discussing intimate partner sexual violence, when it is website necessary to screen women for such violence, and how to foster and respond to disclosures of sexual violence.

Balancing Liberty, Dignity, and Safety: The Impact of Domestic Violence Lethality Screening
Margaret Ellen Johnson; November, 2010

  • This article provides an analysis of the consequences of the justice and legal system's pervasive use of lethality assessment tools for women who experience domestic violence. The article makes several recommendations regarding the use of lethality screening with the goal of reducing domestic homicide while also maintaining respect for women's dignity and autonomy.etraining.learning

Barnardo's Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix: Assessing the Risks to Children from Male to Female Domestic Violence
Maddie Bell; July, 2011

  • This document presents Barnardo's Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix (DVRIM), a key multi-agency assessment tool, formatted into four threshold scales, that is designed to identify the level of risk to children and mothers from domestic violence, as well as to assist social care staff in making decisions regarding the need for a safeguarding response or family support and appropriate interventions.

Child Protection Standards in Ontario
Ministry of Children and Youth Services; February, 2007

  • This report outlines the new Child Protection Standards in Ontario (dated February, 2007) aimed at promoting quality service delivery to children, youth and their families receiving child protetion services from Children's Aid Societies across Ontario. These standards are the vehicle through which the new Differential Response Model in Ontario is being implemented and will be delivered.

Children as Victims and Witnesses of Domestic Homicide: Lessons Learned from Domestic Violence Death Review Committees
Peter G. Jaffe and Marcus Juodis; July 2009

  • This article discusses the findings of 15 Domestic Violence Death Review Committees (DVDRCs) concerning children as witnesses and victims. Findings show that an alarming number of children are victimized  by domestic violence. The DVDRCs make several recommendations relevant to children and domestic homicide, with the following emerging themes: training and policy development, resource development, coordination of services, legislative reform, and prevention programs. 

Children in Danger of Domestic Homicide
Peter G. Jaffe, Marcie Campbell, Leslie H.A. Hamilton, and Marcus Juodis; January 2012

  • This brief communication acknowledges the lethal risk posed to children living with domestic violence based on findings from 17 Domestic Violence Deth Review Committee (DVDRC) report reviews. It is hoped that acknowlegement of these risks will better inform research and clinical practice to protect children in these situations.


  • Search for common family law questions, representation near you and a variety of other helpful forms and resources.

Confidentiality and Community Risk Management: Challenges and Opportunities for Information Sharing
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children; September, 2011 

  • This research paper examines issues around confidentiality and information sharing among professionals and organizations that work with survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence in efforts to adopt a collaborative approach to community risk management. It examines past recommendations, legislation, case law rules of professional conduct for various professions, and challenges and current practices in Ontario communities, as well as presents recommendations in addressing this issue.

Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) Risk Identification Checklist (RIC) & Quick Start Guidance for Domestic Abuse, Stalking and 'Honour'-Based Violence
Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse; 2012

  • This document presents the Risk Identification Checklist (RIC), a tool designed to help practitioners identify high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and 'honour'-based violence. Guidance is provided for practitioners on the use of the RIC and to assist practitioners in understanding the significance of the questions on the checklist.

Could an App help stem domestic violence? 
A CBC: The Current podcast discussing a new smartphone app that allows women to run a checklist to diagnose a dangerous relationship.

Domestic Violence Action Plan Progress Report
Laurel Broten, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Government of Ontario; May, 2012

  • This report provides an update on Ontario's Domestic Violence Action Plan since its last update in 2007, highlighting actions taken by the Government of Ontario in response to the Domestic Violence Advisory Council's recommendations to improve the system of violence against women services, as well as other key accomplishments. The report discusses actions and accomplishments made in the following areas: community-based supports for victims, early intervention and risk management training, public education, justice system response, program and service access and equity, and services for Aboriginal women. 

Domestic Violence in Child Custody and Parenting Time Disputes - Part III: Assessing Risk to Children from Men who Batter
Lundy Bancroft; January, 2010

  • This article is the third of a four part series designed to enhance readers' understanding of the impact of domestic violence in child custody and parenting time cases. It presents a model for the assesment of post-seperation risk to children from batterers, while also discussing the psychological, physical, and sexual risks posed to children by batterers and how to promote children's healing from exposure to battering behaviour.

Domestic Violence Management & Screening Procedure
West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB)

  • This Procedure provides New Zealand's WCDHB clinical staff with guidelines to implement the WCDHB Family Violence Poicy, including guidelines for identifying and screening signs and symptoms associated with domestic violence, abuse victim identification, cultural considerations, domestic violence risk assessment, family violence documentation, safety intervention and processes, and domestic violence legislation.

Domestic Violence Response: A Community Framework for Minimizing Women's Safety
Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

  • This document discusses the framework developed by Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division consisting of eight principles and key questions to assist communities in developing or enhancing their coordinated response to domestic violence. The framework can be used to assist in the development of community safety or needs assessment, and in the identification of strengths, progress, and gaps at the local level.

Domestic Violence Risk Assessment and Management Curriculum
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children

  • Text version of online course 

Domestic Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Reference Group 

Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Decision Making Tool
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children

Domestic Violence Risks in Families with Collectivist Values: Understanding Cultural Context
Mohammed Baobaid, PhD, 2012 

  • This paper discusses the complexities associated with domestic violence in immigrant communities grounded in collectivist cultural values. It emphasizes the importance of understanding domestic violence and families within their cultural and migratory contexts to facilitate efective and comprehensive risk assessment and intervention.

Domestic Violence Triage Tool
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.; 2012

  • This triage tool provides a useful guide to practitioners working with abusers and individuals at risk of perpetrating domestic violence in assessing primary warning signs (violent acts, ideation and intent) and secondary warning signs (personal crisis, interpersonal conflict, mental distress), and the need for a comprehensive domestic violence risk assessment following patient or client referral.

Dynamic Risk Factors
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children 

  • Checklist of risk factors 

Enhancing Safety: When Domestic Violence Cases are in Multiple Legal Systems (Criminal, Family, Child Protection)
Linda C. Neilson; June, 2012

  • This report documents, from a family law perspective, best practice options when domestic violence cases make their way through multiple legal systems (criminal, civil, family, and child protection). The manual is intended to support the work of practitioners in building professional networks across legal systems in order to promote the safety and welfare of Canadian families and children.

Family Law NB - Self-Help Guides 

  • You can review these self-help guides on the website or borrow them from a library. If you wish, you may purchase your own copy of the divorce guide or the custody, access and support guide from Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick. They are also available at the courthouse in Moncton and Fredericton.

Family Law Terms

  • A consolidated list of family law terms and definitions for clients.

Family Violence: Towards a Holistic Approach to Screening and Risk Assessment in Family Support Services
Elly Robinson and Lawrie Mooney; 2010

  • This paper reviews the current research and literature specific to family violence screening and risk assessment with the aim of assisting service providers and practitioners in developing and evaluating tools for use within family support services.

Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management: Supporting an Integrated Family Violence Service System
A Victorian Government Initiative, Department for Victorian Communities; 2007

  • This document provides information and guidance of professionals working with families of domestic violence in using the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework, a new approach introduced by the Victorian Government in support of an integrated family violence service system intended to assist professionals in better identifying and responding to family violence.

Family Violence Risk Assessment: Review of International Research
Melanie Brown, Evaluation Services Organisational Assurance Group, Police National Headquarters; August, 2011 

  • This review presents an overview of the international research and best practice literature on family violence risk assessment from over the last ten years, with an emphasis on the literature pertaining to police organizations. The review focuses on risk assessment as it relates to predicting the reoccurance of family violence. It outlines the different approaches and tools used in family violence risk assesment, common risk factors for future violence, and issues around the effectiveness of the different tools at predicting future violence, as well as practice implications for effective risk management. 

Guidance for Trust's Gateway Staff on How to Use BArnardo's Multi-Agency Risk Identification Matrix (DVRIM) in Assessing Risks to Children and Young People from Domestic Violence and Abuse
Maddie Bell

  • This document provides practitioners with guidance on how to use Barnardo's Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix (DVRIM) in assessing risks to children from domestic violence initial assessment triggers and safety planning interventions. There are 13 appendices to support this guidance.

Guidelines for Safely Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children; 2010

  • This document provides women experiencing domestic violence with guidelines for safely leaving an abusive partner. Guidelines discussed include: understanding the possible risks involved with a separation, not disclosing plans forseparation to the abuser, building a support network, creating a safety plan, and obtaining a protection order against the abuser.

Hawaii State Validation Report on the Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI) and Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA)
Timothy Wong and Maria Sadaya; October, 2011 

  • This report presents analyses of data on probationers in the State of Hawai who received the Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI) and Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) in Fiscal Years 2004-2007. A 36-month recidivism analysis was used to evaluate the accuracy and predictive validity of the DVSI and SARA as risk classification instruments. Findings show that the DVSI and SARA have questionable inter-item rater reliability and marginal value for predicting domestic violence recidivism.

Honouring Christian Lee - No Private Matter: Protecting Children Living with Domestic Violence
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Representative for Children and Youth; Septmeber, 2009

  • This document provides an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the domestic homicide of six-year-old Christian Lee, with a focus on the supports and services him and his family received and whether they were appropriate, adequate, and responsive to the child's situation of domestic violence. The investigation touches upon three intersecting public systems (the child welfare system, the criminal justice system, and the family justice system), and provides several recommendations to improve responses to domestic violence and support victims of violence and children. 

Honouring Kaitlynne, Max and Cordon: Make their Voices Heard Now
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Representative for Children and Youth; March, 2012

  • This Representative's investigation examines, from a systemic approach, the domestic homicide of three British Columbia children, with a focus on the contact the children and their parents had with and services recived from the police and judicial system, income assitance, and the school and mental health care systems. The investigation provides several recommendations to improve responses to domestic violence and support victims of violence and children. 

Identifying Unique and Shared Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence and Clinically-Significant Intimate Partner Violence
Amy Slep, Heather Foran, Richard Heyman, Jeff Snarr, and Wendy Travis; 2013

  • This study uses an ecological framework to examine the individual, family, workplace, and community risk factors associated with clinically significant intimate partner violence (IPV) leading to injury and general IPV in a survey of United States Air Force members and their spouses, and explores whether these risk factors differ for the two types of IPV. Findings can help inform IPV prevention programs.

Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence
Community Legal Education Ontatio (CLEO); February, 2011 

  • This fact sheet provides practitioners working with immigrant and refugee women with important information about domestic violence and a woman's immigrant status. It highlights some of the concerns immigrant women deealing with domestic violence may have, such as fears of being deported if she reports abuse by her spouse or sponsor. It also provides information about immigration and refugee protection policies in Canada, and legal procedures governing Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) applications for women who have left as abusive situation and wishing to remain in Canada. 

Inventory of Spousal Violence Risk Assessment Tools Used in Canada
Allison Millar 

  • This report identifies the spousal violence risk assessment tools, investigative checklists, case management tools and protocols currently being used by criminal justice personnel with the goal of preventing future risk and harm to victims of spousal violence in Canada. Information was gathered based on discussions with jurisdictional officials.

Key Links And Resources
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children

Knowledge & Skills Self-Assessment List
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children

Look Before You Leap: Court System Triage of Family Law Cases Involving Intimate Partner Violence
Nancy Ver Steegh, Gabrielle Davis, and Loretta Fredrick; Spring, 2012

  • This article identifies and discusses challenging issues in court system triage of family law cases involving intimate partner violence, including questions about the complexity of decision-making about dispute resolution alternatives, the feasibility of quickly and accurately screening for intimate partner violence, procedural safeguards necessary to presere the confidentiality and well-being of families and questions of whether courts or parties are best positioned to make these decisions.

Memorandum of Understanding Between: Hamilton Police Services Board, Correctional Services Canada, Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, Interval House, Catholic Family Services, Hamilton Health Sciences - Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Care Centre, and James Dodds
Linda Freeman, Dianna Tikasz, and James Dodds; May 17, 2005 

  • Hamilton High Risk Domestic Violence Community Advisory Pilot Committee - to review the release of high risk domestic violence offenders into the community of Hamilton, as well as in complying with the provisions of the memorandum and Oath/Affirmation of Confidentiality

Neighbours, Friends & Families (NFF) Disability Strategy
Marianne Park, Valentina Gal, Fran Odette, Monica Elaine Campbell, Sandi Bell, Margaret Shalma, Elizabeth Cherniak, Noreen Javed, Kaleigh O'Leary, and Barb MacQuarrie; October, 2011 

  • This report outlines the unique needs and chalenges faced by Women With Disabilities (WWD) and deaf women at-risk for abuse as identified through a qualitative research study carried out by the Disabilities Strategy Advisory Committee (DSAC). The report aims to identify how the NFF campaign could be adapted to be more accessable to WWD and their communities, and provides recommendations to help advance the prevention and detection of abuse against WWD.

Risk Managment: Violence Against Aboriginal Women
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children; December, 2011 

  • This background paper provides information and strategies towards the prevention and protection of Aboriginal women and families against violence, with an emphasis on the need for a collaborative effort to implement culturally reflective, integrated risk management responces.

Safeguarding Children Abused Through Domestic Violence
London Safeguarding Children Board; March, 2008

  • This procedure is intended to provide all professionals in contact with children and parents living with domestic violence with information and guidelines towards safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Guidelines and procedures are provided regarding risk identification, safety planning with women and children, and working with abusive partners.  Access more related resources at

The Impacts of Recent Law Reforms on Abused Women Involved in the Family Court Process in Ontario: An Environmental Scan of Violence Against Women Service Providers
Luke's Place Support and REsource Centre for Women and Children; October, 2011

  • This report explores the intersection of some of the legal issues women who have experienced violence face (mandatory charging practices, dual charging practices, and impacts related to changes to immigration and refugee processes), as well as the family court experiences of these women. The report is primarily based on survey results from 101 service providers in Ontario who work with women who have experienced violence.

Threat Assessment and Risk Management in Domestic Violence Cases: An Overview of Ontario Justice and Community Collaboration for 2010 and Future Directions
Marcie Campbell; 2010 

  • This report highlights discussions and suggestions made during the 2010 conference, "Reducing the Risk of Lethal Violence: Collaboration in Threat Assessment and Risk Managment". The report is part of an effort to promote collaboration between community-based and government agencies that are working to ensure the safety of women experiencing domestic violence through better threat assessment, risk management, and safety planning

Warning Signs for the Workplace
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children

Warning Signs of Abuse
Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children

Your Legal Rights: Family Law
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