Level 2 tools—DFV risk assessment and safety planning

The Level 2 risk assessment tools (PDF) (or DOCX) are designed to be used by professionals required to assess domestic and family violence (DFV) risk where some form of violence has already been identified—including through routine screening and the use of the Level 1 tools. The tools enable professionals to assess and understand the risk posed to a victim-survivor of DFV and—from this assessment—safety planning should be undertaken to manage the identified risk, including making appropriate referrals.

For more information read the Level 2 tools fact sheet.

Watch the below introductory video about the Level 2 tools, which includes information on how to use the Level 2 tools, how they fit within the Integrated Service Systems Framework, intersectional approaches to risk assessment and safety management, and worker safety.

Who should use the Level 2 tools

The Level 2 tools are designed to be used by specialist DFV practitioners, selected government workers, and other professionals with a role in responding to DFV (though this may not be their core business). This can include:

  • specialist women’s DFV services
  • men’s behaviour change programs
  • police
  • DFV counsellors
  • Child Safety Officers
  • DFV refuge/shelter workers
  • nominated health workers (e.g. hospital social workers)
  • sexual assault services
  • Corrections staff (e.g. probation and parole officers, custodial officers)
  • homeless shelters
  • Youth Justice Officers
  • professionals in community legal centres
  • education staff including Protection Officers and Guidance Officers
  • family law services
  • Housing Officers
  • disability service providers
  • specialist DFV Court and court support staff
  • services relating to Veteran’s Affairs.

It is recommended that non-specialist DFV professionals liaise with a specialist DFV professional within their organisation when using the Level 2 tools.

When to use the Level 2 tools

The Level 2 tools are designed to support you to understand and assess the risk posed to a victim-survivor and to work with them to manage that risk. This includes developing a safety plan and making appropriate referrals.

The Level 2 tools are not designed to assess risk posed by a person suspected of using violence or to assess risk in cases of adolescent family violence.

How to use the Level 2 tools

Risk assessment tool

There are 3 key components to the Level 2 risk assessment tool:

  • Part 1: Supports you to collect information relating to the victim-survivor.
  • Part 2: Supports you to assess the risk to the victim-survivor.
  • Part 3: Supports you to make an overall assessment of risk considering both the risk assessment undertaken in Part 2 and your own professional judgment.

There are 3 possible outcomes to the Level 2 risk assessment tool:

  • low or no risk identified
  • high risk identified
  • imminent risk identified.

Safety planning tool

The Level 2 safety planning tool should be completed in collaboration with the victim-survivor once the Level 2 risk assessment tool has been completed, regardless of the level of risk identified. It should draw on the victim-survivor’s goals, priorities, and the strategies they have used in the past to manage risk. Each safety plan should be comprehensive and tailored to the individual victim-survivor.

There are 3 key components to the Level 2 safety planning tool:

  • Part 1: Key considerations for safety planning.
  • Part 2: Existing supports and information sharing.
  • Part 3: Safety action plan.

You should work with the victim-survivor to safety-plan around these considerations, and to connect them with relevant support services as needed. All family members—including children and other dependents—should be considered during the safety planning process.

Victim-survivors from different priority population groups will have unique safety planning concerns and needs which you will need to take into consideration when developing a safety plan with the victim-survivor. Read the Priority population groups fact sheet for more information on engaging with priority population groups.

Referring to a High Risk Team or multi-agency team

Where the Level 2 assessment indicates a case is high or imminent risk, it may be appropriate to refer the case to a multi-agency response team.

If there is a High Risk Team (HRT) or other multi-agency response team operating in your area, you can reach out to the teams’ Coordinator or Chair to discuss whether it is appropriate for a case to be referred in. If a case does not meet the referral criteria, the team Coordinator or Chair can assist you in identifying alternative response options.

All referrals to HRTs or other multi-agency response teams must include a completed Level 2 risk assessment and safety action plan form. If you are uncertain what multi-agency teams are operating in your area, you can get in touch with a local DFV support service for more information.

Information sharing

The DFV information sharing guidelines provide detailed information to support you to share information in the context of DFV. Read the Overview of the tools fact sheet for more guidance on information sharing.

Fact sheets