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Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research Scholarship: The Domestic Abuse Stalking and Harassment and Honour-based (DASH) violence risk assessment for police: Analysis of efficacy in practice

Swansea University - Psychology

Location: Swansea
Salary: £11,702 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 19th September 2019
Closes: 15th November 2019

Start date: January 2020

Over 1 million women and 500,000 men suffered from domestic abuse in the UK in 2018 (ONS, 2018). Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (2014) highlighted the problem of repeat and prolific perpetrators of domestic violence and called on police services to do more to systematically target these offenders. Further, there is a need to understand which, among the many, offenders are likely to perpetrate the most serious domestic violence in the future (this has been termed 'deadly violence' – violence that caused, or could easily have caused, death).

The prediction of future violence has received a great deal of scientific interest in the past 25 years (see Gray, et al., 2014) with a range of risk factors being identified for violence. In turn, these risk factors have then been used to design instruments that aid the professional to perform a risk assessment to evaluate the chances (or risk) of violent acts occurring in the future.   

The Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-Based Violence (DASH, 2009), Risk Identification Assessment and Management Model was designed to improve police responses to incidents of domestic abuse. However, this model was not firmly based on risk factors that are known to predict either future domestic abuse or deadly violence. Further, there was no piloting of this instrument before its adoption by all 43 Police Forces throughout England and Wales. More recently there has been some attempt at evaluation. Robinson, et al. (2016) showed that the use of DASH was rather patchy, with officers often failing to submit the form or altering it after the event. The officers gave great weight to criminal offences committed and any injuries sustained by the victim during the incident in their assessments of risk, rather than adhering to the risk evaluation scheme. The report recommended that a more evidence-based approach is needed and that issues such as coercive control and patterns of abuse need to be better understood in the context of future risk of serious domestic violence and domestic homicide. Nevertheless, the report found widespread support for the use of a formalised scheme for risk assessment from both the police and their partners.

The only quantitative study of DASH completed so far assessed 120 offenders with “deadly violence” (Thornton, 2017). In 55% of these cases, there was no previous recorded contact with the police. Of the 13 murder cases that did have prior contact with the police, none was regarded as “high-risk” according to the DASH risk evaluation. The study concluded that the prediction of deadly violence from previous police contacts does not appear possible at present.


Academic requirements:

Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in an undergraduate degree in Psychology or a related subject.

Residency criteria:

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

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