About the DASH Risk Identification Checklist (RIC)

DASH – Frequently Asked Questions and Resources

What is DASH?

  • The Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) Risk Identification Checklist is a tool used to assess the immediate risk, threat and danger a survivor is subject to.
  • The current form of the DASH was launched in 2009 and based on international research and focussed on common key indicators of risk recorded across hundreds of cases of domestic homicide and serious harm.
  • The tool is used by all agencies, including specialist DA services and the police and provides a common language of risk.
  • See thresholds section for more information on risk scores and next steps

Who completes the DASH?

  • The DASH is used by the Police, Specialist Domestic Abuse Services and public facing services.
  • The Police complete a slightly different version of the DASH, which includes more questions.
  • Survivors can use the V-DASH to support them to consider and report what it happening to them. Individuals can also complete a version of the DASH specific to stalking called the S-DASH.

When to complete a DASH:

  • The DASH should be used whenever a practitioner receives an initial disclosure of domestic abuse. As you will be aware, risk in domestic abuse situations is dynamic and can change very quickly. Thus it may be appropriate to review the checklist with a client on more than one occasion. It is designed to be used for those suffering current rather than historic domestic abuse and ideally would be used close in time to the last incident of abuse that somebody has suffered
  • If the survivor has previously been to MARAC and professionals learn there has been repeat victimisation within 12 months. (There has been a change in how Safe Lives defines a 'repeat' victimisation after a case has been previously heard at MARAC. A repeat is now classed as ANY instance of abuse between the same victim and perpetrator(s), within 12 months of the last referral to MARAC.) http://www.safelives.org.uk/definition-repeat-marac

How to complete a DASH:

  • The tool should ideally be completed by a trained worker, but the DASH questions as a frame of reference to think about information being captured in the first instance. If the person trusts the worker and is likely to close up with another worker, it's important to seize the moment.
  • The DASH is scored on visible risk (how many "ticks") and on professional judgement.
  • Avoid an incident focussed approach. Patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour underpin and facilitate opportunities for serious harm to be perpetrated. Coercive and controlling behaviours should be considered and recorded. For more information see: https://lrsb.org.uk/coercive-and-controlling-behavio
  • DASH training is available via the Leicestershire County Council learning hub and UAVA courses are advertised here https://lrsb.org.uk/llr-training

Frequency of completion:

  • Good practice for frequency is every 6 weeks or where there has been a new incident
  • Where a service user is choosing not to engage with specialist DA services or is on a waiting list for local DASV services, the agency working with and "holding" the survivor should be completing the DASH every 6 weeks, or where there has been a new incident.

What happens with the completed DASH?:

  • At this time, the protocol is that the completed DASH and any accompanying referral goes direct to UAVA , though this is subject to change

DA service thresholds:


How to respond


All survivors should be offered a referral to DA Services whatever the DASH score. The DASH should accompany the referral to UAVA.

If you are able to meet 14 or more "ticks" when the DASH is completed

This meets the criteria for IDVA and MARAC using the "visible risk" criteria

If the survivor scores 14 or higher, a referral should be made to UAVA with a request for a referral to MARAC. Whilst consent should be sought wherever safe and possible, where risk reaches 14+ the referral can be made without the consent of the survivor.

If less than 14 ticks are met but the worker is concerned that the survivor is minimising what is happening, or may be aware of other information (or previous patterns) of note which increases their concerns.

Where this is the case, the criteria for IDVA and MARAC is met using "professional judgement" criteria

Workers should make a referral to IDVA requesting a referral to MARAC via UAVA, supplying the completed DASH including their specific professional judgement. (see Safe Lives DASH page for more)

NB: Plans are in place for all agencies to refer direct via a portal model. This page will be updated as appropriate. Check your agency's own MARAC policy for advice.

What can be done if the survivor feels unable to engage?

See LRSB Domestic Abuse flow chart and guidance which explains options and service where the survivor:

  • Does want to access services and doesn't meet high risk
  • Does meets high risk and doesn't wish to engage at this time
  • When to make direct contact with statutory services to keep the person safe


The Adult DASH:

This link takes you to DASH guidance and copies of the DASH tool in various languages (includes FAQ)


This link takes you to an LLR flowchart for how to respond to DA with links to the DASH risk indicator checklist, it has the contact details for UAVA.


Here are the key contact details for referring to UAVA as a professional


This link will take you to a helpful video about the DASH tool.



This link will take you to the YP DASH RIC which is to be completed with YP experiencing Intimate partner violence in their own relationships. This is an important tool, including for YP at risk from honour-based abuse and forced marriage.


This link will take you to a helpful video which explains the YP DASH RIC


This link will take you to a "safety plan" for young people experiencing intimate partner violence (risk reduction/containment plan)


This link will take you to a host of resources for YP experiencing domestic abuse either as primary victim, or where young people


This link will take you to a helpful Safe lives blog post with helpful information about "asking the question" – how to broach discussion on healthy relationships. It features links to other resources including the young people's power and control wheel.


Children/YP Using Violent or Controlling Behaviour with Carers and siblings

This link will take you to safeguarding board information page which includes the "Child on Parent Abuse Toolkit", which offers initial advice designed to lay the foundations for safe and productive work with families at risk from Children/YP Using Violent or Controlling Behaviour.


To learn more about completing the DASH: