Factors affecting risk


  • Judicial Commission of NSW, Equality before the Law: Bench Book (2018).
    [] notes that ‘statistically, the most dangerous time for a woman in a violent relationship is at separation or after leaving the relationship’.


  • Magistrates Court of Queensland, Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 Bench Book (2017).
    This bench book does not discuss contextual information around risk factors for domestic and family violence, however it does draw on case law to detail that ‘the court must assess the risk of future domestic violence’ as one element of making a protection order (pp51-52)


  • Judicial College of Victoria, Family Violence Bench Book (2014).

    Provides a specific section: ‘5.2.5 – Risk indicators for family violence’.

    Relevant to the current risks identified in this literature review, it notes:

    • ‘Separation is a high-risk period for people experiencing family violence. Research suggests that women are particularly at risk within the first two months of separation from their partner. Victims often stay with a violent perpetrator because they know that leaving will increase the risk of violence. This does not indicate that the allegations of violence should be taken less seriously; often the opposite is true. The victim of family violence is generally better placed to assess the risk of violence escalating if they attempt to leave the relationship.’ [ – Situational factors]
    • substance abuse [ – Situational factors]
    See also: 5.14 - Risk assessment and management - a framework to assist judicial decision making. This section provides a thorough overview of guidance around risk, including protective factors, managing risk and evidence. See especially [ – Evidence-based risk factors] which relevantly notes indicators of risk to include: pregnancy, substance misuse, suicide theats, isolation, use of or access to weapons, strangulation, stalking, and controlling behaviours.


  • Department of the Attorney General (WA), Equality before the Law: Bench Book (2009).

    This Bench Book discusses different risk factors in domestic and family violence contexts specifically for the following groups:

    • women [13.1.2]
    • children [13.1.6]
    • men [13.1.8]
    • Aboriginal people [13.1.10]
    However, the assessment of risk in this Bench Book fits more relevantly into the ‘vulnerable groups’ section of this National Bench Book.


  • Neilson, Linda C, Domestic Violence Electronic Bench Book (National Judicial Institute, 2017).

    Section 7.2.1: Alcohol and drug rationalization notes that: ‘[w]hile heightened risk of domestic violence and of attendant bodily injury is associated with perpetrators’ heavy alcohol consumption and drug use, and alcohol or drugs are often blamed for domestic violence, experts agree that drugs and alcohol are more a rationalization than a cause’.

    Section 8.8: Responding to risk (the likelihood domestic violence will continue) which notes the following relevant risk factors:

    • Controlling behaviours;
    • Substance abuse;
    • Assault during pregnancy;
    • Access to guns;
    • Separation;
    • Presence of step-children;
    • Strangulation;
    • Threat of suicide;
    • Stalking;
    • Controlling behaviour.
    Also see Section 8.9: What is Risk Assessment?, which discusses tools for assessing risk and their validity and use.