DASH Risk assessment

Risk assessments have four stages

  • Risk identification
  • Risk assessment
  • Professional judgment
  • Risk management

This should be a dynamic process that will adjust the risk assessment of harm up or down as the circumstances change.

What is the DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Honour based violence Assessment Tool)?

The DASH risk assessment tool was developed by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers), Laura Richards, in conjunction with SafeLives formerly CAADA (Coordinated Action against Domestic Abuse) to create a common tool for both police and non-police agencies when identifying and assessing victims of domestic abuse, stalking and harassment and honour based violence. In Southampton, we use a 24-question DASH.


Do you have the time and confidence to complete the DASH form safely with the client? The questions are used to identify, assess and manage risk, so ask all the questions and all responses must be recorded, reviewed and updated. The risk identification process remains dynamic and you have responsibility for the risk until it can be handed over.

Other relevant information (from victim and risk assessor) which may alter risk

Risk levels

Standard - Current evidence does not indicate likelihood of serious harm

Medium - There are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm. The perpetrator has the potential to cause serious harm but is unlikely to do so unless there is a change in circumstances e.g. relationship breakdown, failure to take medication, drug/alcohol misuse

High - There are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm. The potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious

Number of indicators identified:-

  • 1-9: Standard risk
  • 10-13: Medium risk
  • 14 and above: High risk

These are suggested risk levels only – other factors may increase risk level, but will not reduce it. Consider the number and frequency of high risk factors and any escalation.

High Risk Domestic Abuse (HRDA)

In Southampton, all adults experiencing High Risk Domestic Abuse should be referred to MASH for multi-agency risk reduction discussion. Referrals to MASH are for adults with or without children. There is one MASH referral form that covers both adults and their children (if applicable).

High risk cases (14+) need to be referred to HRDA.