3. Tools for volunteers/less trained people

Tools for volunteers and/or less trained people contain clearing questionnaire assessing e.g. intake of group for perpetrators or risk of lethality. They are easy to handle and can be completed within half an hour. Most of them are based on expertise of victim but some aim at male offenders like the Domestic Violence Inventory (DVI).

The ‘Domestic Violence Inventory’ (DVI) is designed to assess treatment needs and thus might be helpful to support volunteers’ expertise and taking decision about intake of perpetrator. It is an automated and normed domestic violence offender assessment instrument containing 155 items. It takes about 30-35 minutes to complete.
The DVI contains six scales covering ‘truthfulness’, ‘lethality’, ‘control’, ‘alcohol abuse’, ‘drugs’ and ‘stress coping strategies’. The problem is identified at a score of 70% and higher. Severe problems are identified by scale scores at or above the 90%.
The scale interpreting truthfulness measures how truthful the perpetrator/participant was while completing the test. The higher the score the more the scale is invalid since participant was overly guarded, minimising problems, faking answers etc. High scores also indicate uncooperative behaviour like trying to appear ‘in a good light’. The violence scale aims at identifying participants that are dangerous to themselves and others. Physical force is the main focus. Elevated scores hint at insightless about how to express anger/hostility. The higher the elevation of scores, the worse the prognosis. Within the context of domestic violence, control refers to the process of regulating, restraining or controlling others. These controlling behaviours vary from mild to severe. Severe control-related behaviour focuses on exaggerated, distorted or extreme behaviours like swearing, pushing, and intimidation, hitting and even battering. High scores of 70% to 89% indicate the presence of regulating, restraining and controlling behaviours. Severe problems appear at a score of 90% to 100%.  The scale measuring alcohol use and severity of alcohol abuse has similar ratings, i.e. the higher the score the more severe the problem. The drug scale measures substance abuse of illicit drugs like cocaine, crack, barbiturates and heroin. An elevated Drugs Scale score of 70% to 89% indicates an emerging drug problem. A Drugs Scale score between 90% and 100% identifies serious illicit drug abusers. Finally, the stress coping abilities scale measures how well the respondent copes with stress. It is now known that stress exacerbates symptoms of mental and emotional problems. Here again, the higher the score the more severe the problem.

A scale on its own already may indicate risks but of more interest seems to be the conjunction with other scales. For example, when a person doesn’t handle stress well, other existing problems are exacerbated. This problem intensification applies to substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, violence (lethality), control issues and stress-related problems. An elevated Alcohol Scale score in conjunction with other elevated scores increases the severity of the other elevated scores. For example, if there is a respondent with an elevated violence scale who also has an elevated alcohol scale score, that person is even more dangerous when drinking.
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European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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