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Danger Assessment

Keeping Women Alive – Assessing The Danger

Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence among the Canadian provinces. To meet this ongoing challenge, the ACWS is committed to using data-informed practices and innovation. The Danger Assessment tool has become a standard practice for many ACWS member shelters in their intake procedures, empowering women at risk with information. The data collected also provides barometric insight into the state of domestic violence across the province.

The Danger Assessment Tool (DA Tool)—used by many ACWS member shelters across the province—is a validated method of assessing a woman’s risk of being killed by a current or former partner. It is a powerful process of inquiry that helps women stay safer by identifying risk factors, reducing minimization and denial of danger, and building supportive relationships with helpers.


Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins University, who has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to develop and research the Danger Assessment Tool.

Project Background

In 2003, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters invited Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, an internationally recognized expert in intimate partner violence, to a training session for shelter workers on the utilization of her lethality assessment tool (Danger Assessment). The majority of shelter directors in the province attended and expressed great enthusiasm for the potential of this tool to support their work in keeping women safe.

The Danger Assessment tool was originally developed in 1985 to empower women at risk with information that reduced the likelihood of further exposure to her risk of femicide. It consists of a Calendar to assist in recall and 20 weighted questions designed to measure risk in an abusive relationship.

Following the training, some Alberta shelters began utilizing the Danger Assessment tool for women in contact with their shelter. Those shelters pioneering this work were extremely concerned about the consistently high number of women who were at risk of future assault and/or homicide when they came to shelter. As ACWS began tracking these scores provincially we saw that more than three quarters of the women in emergency shelters and more than 90% of women in second stage shelters were at serious risk of danger in their intimate partner relationship based on Dr. Campbell’s Danger Assessment tool.

Take Danger Assessment Training

The ACWS offers Danger Assessment Training for its members, as well as "train the trainer" events. Contact the ACWS to learn more.

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