Policing Intimate Partner Violence: Attitudes toward Risk Assessment and Collaboration with Social Workers

Allison Ward-Lasher, Jill Messing, Bill Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Risk-informed collaborative police-social service interventions are an emerging strategy intended to enhance offender accountability and victim-survivors' safety in intimate partner violence (IPV) cases. These interventions use risk assessment to determine appropriate interventions and enhance the police response for dangerous offenders by engaging in collaboration with social work advocates. Because little is known about the responsiveness of police officers to risk-informed collaborative interventions, this study examines police officer (N = 544) attitudes toward IPV risk assessment and collaboration with social workers. The majority of police officers did not believe a social worker would be helpful at the scene of an IPV incident. However, those who agreed that a social worker would be helpful were more likely to be knowledgeable about the dynamics of IPV. Officers who believed risk assessment was important were more likely to believe that the police response to IPV is necessary. Finally, officers' perceived knowledge about risk for homicide was not consistently associated with actual knowledge about IPV. These findings suggest a need for knowledgeable social workers to collaborate with police, particularly in high-risk cases, and to offer training for officers on risk factors for homicide, coercive control, and misperceptions about IPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Work (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Attitudes
  • interdisciplinary collaboration
  • intimate partner violence
  • police
  • risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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