Resources for identifying the risk victims face

When someone is experiencing domestic abuse, it’s vital to make an accurate and fast assessment of the danger they're in, so they can get the right help as quickly as possible. Our Dash risk checklist is a tried and tested way to understand risk. Dash stands for domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence. The questions are based on extensive research of domestic abuse.

We believe every person living with domestic abuse needs to be supported to be safe, wherever they live, whoever they are. We hope the Dash risk checklist helps produce a more consistent approach across the UK. 

Who is it for? Who can use it?
The Dash risk checklist can be used for all intimate partner relationships, including LGBTQ+ relationships, as well as for ’honour’-based violence and family violence. It is primarily intended for professionals – both specialist domestic violence workers, such as Idvas, and other professionals working for mainstream services. It aims to provide a uniform understanding of risk across professions. There is a specific police version of the risk checklist, which is used by most police forces in England and Wales.   

How does it work?
The simple series of questions makes it easy to work out the risk someone is facing, and what they might need to become safe and well. A high score means the victim is at high risk of murder and/or serious harm and needs urgent help. These victims should get help from an Idva, and all the relevant local agencies should come together at a Marac meeting to make a plan to make them safe. The Dash risk checklist is available in several languages, as is guidance on how to use the tool.

The Dash cannot replace vital professional judgement. It cannot replace the need for training. It is guidance. 

For more information on the research base behind the Dash risk checklist, please read our FAQs. Or you may want to watch the SafeLives video: An introduction to risk identification in domestic abuse cases.

"The police took it very seriously - they were brilliant. They risk assessed me straight away with a Dash form and found I was at high risk of harm. Because they took it seriously and believed me, I felt better about telling them about the abuse."

"The risk assessment was the thing that made the difference to me. It made me realise that I was a victim of domestic abuse and it really shook me. It was a massive shock but also a turning point. It really put it into perspective for me. It really helped."