Risk assessment and how to refer to the HRDA

Any agency can refer a victim's case to the HRDA by following the procedure below:

Step 1

Complete SafeLives Dash risk checklist.

14 ticks or more meets the HRDA threshold and the case should be referred. The top six risk indicators, based on findings from Domestic Homicide Reviews are - pregnancy, stalking/harassment, separation/child contact, sexual abuse, escalation of abuse and isolation. Cases which do not make the 14 tick threshold but where, in the professional judgment of the person undertaking the assessment, the risk is still high should also be referred (particularly if any of the top six risk indicators have been recorded). See additional advice if you are supporting a young person aged 16 to 18 and who is in an abusive relationship.

Step 2

If, on completion of the risk indicator checklist, the case does not meet the HRDA threshold consider other support you may need to give the victim within your agency and signpost to other specialist services available.

Step 3

Victims in an intimate partner relationship aged 16+ can be referred. Cases where an adult parent meets the threshold for HRDA by the number of ticks on the DASH but where the perpetrator of the abuse is a child or young person can also now be referred to the HRDA.

In such cases, the child or young person is likely to be a child in need and should be referred to children's social care for consideration of services under S17 of the Children Act 1989. This will ensure that the needs of both the adult high risk victim and their children are considered and addressed within a risk management framework and existing safeguarding procedures.

Practitioners working with adults who are being abused by a child or young person, particularly their own child or step-child, should consider that this may make the case suitable for referral to the HRDA on professional judgement, even if the 14 tick threshold on the DASH risk assessment is not met, depending on their wider knowledge of the case and the family situation

Step 4

Before making the referral discuss the case with your line manager, supervisor or HRDA representative and consider what immediate actions you and your agency need to undertake to support the victim, and their children, and increase their safety. This might include advising the victim to contact the police.

Step 5

Advise the victim that you are making the HRDA referral, that the referral will go to the Maple Project and that an Domestic Abuse Advisor (DAA) will be in contact with them by telephone to offer them support if they want it. It is also important that the consent of the victim is obtained.

Step 6 - making a referral

To make the referral, complete the HRDA Referral Form as fully as possible including reference to the number of ticks on the DASH risk assessment and an explanation of the reasons for referring on professional judgement if the 14 tick threshold has not been met.

Reasons for the referral and the risks identified should be clear. All sections of the form must be completed in full to enable both the police and HRDA partner agencies to undertake accurate research on both the victim and the alleged perpetrator.

If there are no children please state this clearly on the form. Incomplete forms or forms which do not evidence that the HRDA threshold has been met may be rejected. Where possible HRDA referrals should be typed not hand-written.

Step 7 - send the referral

Send the HRDA referral form and the completed risk indicator checklist by secure email to the HRDA administrator at hrdacounty@dorset.pnn.police.uk. To use secure email you will need to send the email from your own secure email address (secure email addresses are those including pnn, gsi, gcsx, nhs.net and cjsm) and mark it RESTRICTED.

When you make a referral to the HRDA please advise the representative who attends the HRDA meeting for your agency.

You will receive an email acknowledgement of your referral. To find out when the case will be heard at HRDA or if you have not received acknowledgement of receipt of the referral please contact the HRDA administrator.

Step 8 - what happens next

All HRDA cases will be assigned an Domestic Abuse Advisor (DAA) who will then make contact with the victim before the HRDA meeting.

Make sure you keep any records of the HRDA referral secure by following local information sharing processes in place in your agency and the HRDA Information Sharing Protocol – To be received. 

If you are aware that a case has already been referred to HRDA in the last 12 months and the victim has been subjected to further violence, threats of violence, stalking, harassment, rape or sexual abuse (whether reported to the police or not), it should be referred back as a repeat irrespective of the number of ticks on the risk checklist.

See full details of how the HRDA operate in Dorset HRDA Operating Protocol

Supporting a young person who is aged 16 to 18 and who is in an abusive relationship

In addition to following the risk assessment guidance above, if you are supporting a young person who is aged 16 to 18 and who is in an abusive relationship you should consider using the Young people's Dash risk checklist with guidance along with following your safeguarding procedures.

This Young People’s Checklist will help you to identify known risks in domestic abuse and include specific considerations in relation to young people to inform your professional judgment. It will help you to identify suitable cases to be reviewed at a HRDA and inform referrals to children’s social care.

Please note the visible high-risk threshold for young people is 10 ticks or above on the Young peoples Dash risk checklist and includes top risk indicators such as age of both people, is this their first relationship, peer group, relationship with parents, resilience, HBV/forced marriage, gangs/sexual exploitation, and attitude to risk.

Cases which do not make the 10 tick threshold but where, in the professional judgment of the person undertaking the assessment, the risk is still high then a referral to HRDA should be considered (particularly if any of the top risk indicators have been recorded or where there are concerns about escalation).

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