Use of the ODARA by police officers for intimate partner violence: Implications for practice in the field
Despite research demonstrating the validity of the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) for appraising risk of subsequent intimate partner violence, gaps remain with regard to its actual use by police officers in the field. The primary goals of the current study were to assess the rate at which the ODARA was used by police officers for intimate partner violence (IPV) in the Canadian context and to identify factors associated with its use. The current study used 142 randomly selected police files meeting criteria for IPV from three police agencies in an Atlantic Canadian province, following province-wide training on domestic violence and the ODARA. The ODARA was used by police in 60.3% of cases, though more commonly when physical Violence was present at index (70%). Significant ODARA use variation was noted across the three police gencies. ODARAs were more likely administered when the suspect was using drugs/alcohol (76.4%), the incident was between parties in a current intimate relationship (67.0%), when physical violence occurred in the index event (70.6%), and when a weapon was used (84.2%). Decisions to arrest and recommend charges to the prosecutor were predicted by higher ODARA total scores, above and beyond the influence of the police organization, suspect/victim characteristics, and incident context variables. Results are discussed in the context of police discretion/decision-making and the need for stronger implementation and policy use guidelines for risk appraisal by police officers, which includes a better understanding of IPV and the ODARA.
Copyright (c) 2020 Dale Ballucci, Mary Ann Campbell, Carmen Gill
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