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Police Risk Assessment of Domestic Abuse: The mediating role of space and time

Lee, Won and Ellison, Mark (2018) Police Risk Assessment of Domestic Abuse: The mediating role of space and time. In: European Society of Criminology, 29 August 2018 - 01 September 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In England and Wales, police forces deploy an evidence-based Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment, and Honour-Based Violence (DASH) assessment tool when responding to reports of domestic abuse. The DASH assessment tool is primarily utilised to undertake risk prediction / estimation at the incident, though it can also be used to undertake harm and needs identification as well as demand management (Medina Ariza et al. 2016). This paper explores whether risk prediction (High, Medium and Standard) derived from 27 DASH questions differs across space and according to the time of year. Moreover, and over a period when the number of domestic abuse associated crime have seen significant growth, whilst the level of police funding has seen significant decline, the paper questions the consistency of risk prediction through time. The paper draws on a dataset of 360,000 DASH assessments, risk assessment outcomes and victim characteristics for the period 2011-2017. It deploys probabilistic and heuristic machine learning-based algorithms to evaluate the existence and degree of spatially and temporally weighted decision-making and to offer guidance as to how this might be overcome. The importance of this research rests in supporting equitable service delivery in an era of fiscal strain.

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