Screening & Assessment
Practitioners often use questionnaires to screen and assess victims of crime and to connect or refer them to appropriate services. Screening questionnaires are typically shorter and used at intake to determine what type(s) of victimization the clients have faced, and if they need immediate assistance (i.e. crisis intervention). Assessment questionnaires are typically longer and used to obtain detailed information about clients’ needs and victimization history (i.e. to develop a treatment or case management plan).
Generally speaking, screenings and assessments should be conducted in an ongoing, routine manner to be most effective. Questionnaires must also be used by properly trained professionals in accordance with screening and assessment training materials and relevant legal mandates. Whenever possible, it is best to use an instrument that has been validated—meaning it has been tested for accuracy, reliability, and similar characteristics.
CVR is conducting a thorough review of victim identification instruments, but in the meantime offers these links to a few broadly applicable tools used in clinical or non-clinical settings.
Tools and Tips
CVR Quick Reference Guide: Screening and Assessment, 2019 (Center for Victim Research). This two-page overview provides an introduction to screening and assessment tools, with a summary of the differences and tips for selecting and utilizing instruments.
Child Traumatic Stress Screening and Assessment (National Child Traumatic Stress Network). This web resources includes an overview of trauma screening and trauma-informed mental health assessment for providers to identify children’s and families’ needs, as well as NCTSN-developed resources and a searchable database of detailed reviews of measures utilized in the field of child traumatic stress.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Screening Tools (SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions). SAMHSA offers a list of resources and a large number of sample forms or tools to screen for mental health and substance use problems, including options to screen for depression, suicide risk, and trauma.
Domestic Violence Evaluation Screening/Assessment Tools (Idaho Domestic Assault and Battery Evaluator Advisory Board). This spreadsheet of domestic violence screening and assessment tools is organized by type (risk assessment, substance abuse, mental health, victim information, etc.) and a description, information on cost and administration, and where to find more information.
Screening and Assessment for Human Trafficking Eguide (OVC TTAC). The fourth chapter of OVC’s Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide contains a section on victim service provider intake and needs assessment, which includes tips, examples, and a model timeline, as well as links to additional resources.
Assessing Victims’ Needs (Office for Victims of Crime). OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center offers this 45-minute segment within their Victim Assistance Training Online program. The course is free but requires registration.
Screening and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders in the Justice System (SAMHSA 2016). This guide examines key issues for screening and assessing co-occurring mental health and substance disorders in the justice system. It then presents a summary, the strengths and weaknesses, and availability of a number of different instruments.
Adult Human Trafficking Screening Tool and Guide (Administration for Children and Families). This guide and toolkit helps public and behavioral health, health care, and social work professionals screen for human trafficking or risk of victimization, offering administration recommendations, ethical and safety considerations, and other tools.
Trauma-Based Screenings and Assessments (Administration for Children and Families). Presented for practitioners in the child welfare system, this guide introduces screening and assessments for trauma symptoms, factors to consider when selecting a tool, and a range of tools and other resources.
Domestic Violence Assessment Tools (Domestic Shelters). This web resources outlines several of the prominent assessment tools used within the domestic violence field, including the Danger Assessment, ACE Quiz, and SHARP.