Assessments for Family Courts


DVIP Vulnerability Assessments

DVIP complete vulnerability assessments when ordered by the courts in public law care proceedings, or when instructed by social services, to help inform care planning. This page should answer your queries regarding these assessments if you have any other concerns please contact us.

What is a vulnerability assessment?

When we talk about ‘vulnerability’, we mean ‘reasons why you are/were more likely to suffer domestic violence than others’. By doing an assessment, we are trying to understand your background, your experiences, and your understanding of the concerns. We are also looking at what can be put in place to help and support you, and to make you less vulnerable to domestic violence.

Why have I been referred for a vulnerability assessment?

The Local Authority have referred you for a vulnerability assessment because they have started, or are thinking of starting, care proceedings where domestic violence has been a concern, either now or in the past.

Who will be assessing me?

Our assessors are all experts and have a lot of experience in working with female victim-survivors, and male perpetrators, of domestic violence. Our assessments are independent. This means that, even though the Local Authority will be funding the assessment, we do not work for them and we make up our own minds about the situation based on the evidence and our interviews with you, and regardless of Children’s Services view. However, there may be times you disagree with our opinions as it can be hard to hear if there are areas you are being told you need to improve upon.

What does a vulnerability assessment involve?

In order to explore all of this, your assessor will meet with you for a total of about 6 hours – usually over 2 or 3 appointments - and she will also have access to the Court bundle (if your case is in Court), or other paperwork from children’s services. This may include: minutes from child protection/child in need meetings; police reports; reports from other assessments you have undertaken such as psychiatric or parenting assessments; and so on. If it is a Joint Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, we will also be meeting with your (ex)partner, separately from you, to assess his abusive behaviour and the level of risk he poses to you and your child/children.

It takes 6 weeks for the full vulnerability assessment report, or 8 weeks for a joint risk and vulnerability assessment report, to be prepared from receipt of all the paperwork.

What if English is not your first language?

Please let us know in advance of your appointment if you require an interpreter and one will be provided for you by DVIP for the interviews.

The assessment is completed, what happens next?

When we have completed all the interviews, we will produce a written report which will be sent to your social worker, who will then share it with you. If your case is in Court, or goes to Court in the near future, the report will be used to help the Judge understand your situation with regards to domestic violence, and your assessor may be asked to attend Court to answer questions.

As a result of the assessment we may recommend that you complete a women’s group programme, and/or that you are provided with other support such as mental health support, therapeutic support, or support for your children. We may also be asked to make recommendations about child contact, or recommendations about how you and/or the Local Authority can manage or reduce any risks you may be facing.

If you are asked to attend a women’s group programme, we may also be asked to do a final assessment when you have completed the course in order to understand what progress you have been able to make.

For further information on DVIPs women's group programme please visit our services for women page.


Should you have any further questions, please contact us 

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