Webinar: Are Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Tools Racially Biased?
Published by: Kathleen J. Ferraro, PhD and Neil S. Websdale, PhD
In this webinar, we explore the question of whether Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) risk assessments (RAs) are racially biased. We situate IPV RAs within the broader movement to assess risk, links to bail reform and changes in pretrial detention, and research examining claims of racial bias in RAs. We then review some of the case law regarding acceptable use of RAs at various points in the legal process. We next turn to the development of IPV RAs in the field of violence against women. We discuss how these tools work and some of the pros and cons of using them. Our discussion leads us to ask whether IPV RAs might be racially biased against the accused, the alleged victim, or both parties. Importantly, the extant research does not answer the extraordinarily complex question of whether IPV RAs are racially biased. We therefore stress the need to consider the implications of using IPV RAs in the broader movement to confront IPV, particularly noting their limitations and tendency to mask bigger questions.