Assessing the level of risk present in abusive situations is the most important activity of investigators and oversight officers at the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC). Risk assessment is a term used for the process in which a hotline worker, oversight officer or investigator gather data to determine whether or not an individual is safe or likely to be harmed in the near future.
Every report made to the DPPC Hotline is assessed for risk to the alleged victim and other individuals involved. The relative level of risk to an individual is determined by gathering and analyzing information during the intake and investigation processes. The intake worker, oversight officer and investigator, along with their supervisor, determine the reliability and importance of evidence and how each piece of information interrelates with other evidence. The total circumstance is examined, and by compiling a comprehensive and reliable profile of facts, an understanding of the risk present in situations is developed.
In addition to experience and training, an important tool used by DPPC staff to assess risk is the DPPC Risk Assessment Form. The DPPC Risk Assessment Form is located in the DPPC Intake Database. This form provides investigators and oversight officers with a quantitative evaluation of the risk present in a situation based on the available information. Completing this form helps to focus attention on the important issues in a situation that pertains not only to the alleged victim but also the alleged abuser and location of the abuse and helps guide investigators and oversight officers in their development of a strategy to protect the individuals involved in a situation.
Risk assessments are not considered a one-time determination. Risk is re-assessed every time a new piece of information becomes available. Oversight activities continue throughout the investigation process and until the oversight officer is provided with sufficient information that the victim is no longer at risk, a case remains open. Contact with investigators and the service providing agency continues both during and after the completion of the investigation.