Domestic violence victims’ appraisals of future risk: The Impact of trauma symptoms on the accuracy of risk appraisals and safety planning

Research suggests spouse abuse victims, particularly those experiencing severe psychological trauma, may underestimate their risk for future violence from their partners and, therefore, be less likely to engage in safety planning. Dr. Tonia Nicholls is advancing that research by examining how psychological, social and environmental factors impact women's appraisals of risk of future abuse and ultimately, their willingness to seek help. Nicholls will contrast the subjective risk appraisals of battered women with objective risk appraisals made with structured risk assessment measures. The goal is to increase awareness among service providers about the factors related to victims' minimization of risk and improve risk management with former batterers at risk for relapsing into abusive behaviour. She also hopes the research will result in effective methods for educating women about their partners' level of risk and encourage victims to engage in safety planning and/or treatment.