In the 11 years I have served as the Domestic Violence Investigator for Sagadahoc County, my job has morphed considerably over time....
Risk Assessment (ODARA)
According to the Maine Department of Public Safety, nearly 50% of all Maine homicides each year are the result of domestic violence.
As part of comprehensive homicide reduction plan, in 2012 MCEDV joined with partners including the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse, the Maine Department of Public Safety, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to pass legislation that mandates the use a of a standardized, evidence-based risk assessment tool for domestic violence offenders post-arrest. [19-A M.R.S. §4012(6)]
The multi-disciplinary workgroup choose the Ontario Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment tool (ODARA) as the instrument that would be used by all Maine law enforcement officers starting on January 1, 2015. The ODARA was developed to be completed by law enforcement, relying on criminal records and the results of a DV investigation, to predict likelihood of re-assault against a current or former domestic or dating partner. It is an evidence-based, validated actuarial tool developed for use in the field by police and does not require any clinical expertise.
The ODARA consists of 13 very specific questions; topics explored include:
- Perpetrator threats
- Offender substance abuse and criminal history
- Victim fears and barriers to support (such as victim’s substance abuse or the presence of children in the home)
- Whether or not the victim was assaulted while pregnant
MCEDV is providing training and technical assistance to law enforcement throughout the state of Maine in implementing the ODARA, which will fulfill the 2014 Maine Criminal Justice Academy requirement. In addition, training and technical assistance is also available for a range of other staeholders, including prosecutors, advocates, and other criminal justice partners. Please contact Margo Batsie at email@example.com or 207.430.8334 for more information and to learn about the options available for your department.