Abstract: The Predictive Validity of an Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment for Immigrant and Refugee Women in the United States (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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The Predictive Validity of an Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment for Immigrant and Refugee Women in the United States

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Hospitality 1 - Room 443, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Jill Messing, MSW, PhD, Professor, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Karin Wachter, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Hsiu-Fen Lin, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Bushra Sabri, PhD, MSW, Assistant Professor, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Veronica Njie-Carr, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Jacquelyn Campbell, Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Displacement and migration can increase women’s risk of intimate partner violence (IPV), severe IPV, and homicide. While a growing body of research examines the use of risk assessment in service settings, gaps remain with regard to assessing risk among immigrant and refugee populations. The Danger Assessment for Immigrant Women (DA-I), developed in 2013, is the only risk assessment that accounts for the specific risk factors that immigrant women face. The DA-I was initially validated with Latina immigrant women, and the aim of the current study is to understand the ability of the instrument to predict severe and repeat violence across diverse immigrant and refugee groups.


Data were collected as part of a randomized controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of an app-based IPV intervention. Eligible participants were women born outside of the U.S. who reported experiencing IPV within the past 6 months. Participants (n=122) from regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America were recruited by multiple service agencies throughout the U.S. Web- and app-based surveys were administered at baseline, with follow-up surveys at three, six, and 12 months. Retention at 12 months follow-up was 78.5%. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area under the curve (AUC) data analysis method was used to examine the predictive validity of the DA-I.


Participants mean age was 34.1 years and 77.1% were employed. They had an average of 1.4 children and 70.3% reported attending some college or technical school or higher. The vast majority (97.1%) had a male partner and 50.7% were living with their abusive partner at baseline. Participants reported high levels of violence at follow-up, with 35-50% of participants reporting that their intimate partner or ex-partner had inflicted severe injury or a potentially fatal assault between the initial interview and follow-up. The ROC AUC for the DA-I was .7994 (95% CI=.7169, .8820) at 3 months, .7269 (95% CI=.6378, .8200) at 6 months, and .7880 (.7069, .8691) at 12 months. Although there was a dip in predictive validity at 6 months, the predictive validity of the DA-I in this sample is high, with a ROC AUC corresponding to a large effect throughout the measured time points.

Conclusion & Implications:

The results of the analysis indicate that it is important to include risk factors specific to immigrant and refugee populations when using risk assessment with these groups. Given immigrant and refugee women’s specific risks of severe IPV and homicide, it is particularly important that the tools practitioners and survivors use to assess risks are valid and accurate. Evidence-based risk assessment tools, such as the DA-I, can thus inform organizational policies and practices as a valid and reliable predictor of future violence that can be used decrease risks of severe and lethal IPV. Validated risk assessment tools should be used within an evidence-based practice approach that values and accounts for client self-determination, practice expertise, and organizational, community, and family resources. The study highlights the importance of and complexities involved in ensuring assessments reflect the realities and needs of diverse immigrant and refugee groups.