Collaborating to Identify Risks and Increase Safety
An Interagency Case Assessment Team (ICAT) is a partnership of local agencies, including police, child welfare, health, social service, victim support, and other organizations. This group responds to referrals of suspected highest risk domestic violence cases with an aim to increase safety. This goal is achieved by:
- Identifying risk using the BC Summary of Domestic Violence Risk Factors, an evidence-based risk assessment tool
- Legally and ethically sharing risk-related information
- Reaching agreement regarding the risk level and
- Creating a collaborative risk management plan that addresses victim safety and support and monitoring of perpetrators.
ICAT members come from a broad range of disciplines and have different roles and mandates. However, they share the goal of wanting to develop a common understanding of domestic violence threat and a collaborative approach to managing risk and safety. ICAT members also share a desire to keep women, children and communities safer while supporting and monitoring the perpetrator. The underlying principle is that with coordinated intervention, injury or death resulting from domestic violence is preventable.
The British Columbia Context
Through their expert testimony in the Lee Inquest and as co-authors of the Keeping Women Safe Report, the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) and its program, Community Coordination for Women’s Safety (CCWS), made submissions and provided briefing materials to government and the Coroner’s Office on the urgent need for a high risk provincial domestic violence protocol. In 2010, the Violence Against Women in Relationships (VAWIR) Policy was amended and the new policy included a protocol for highest risk cases. It offered clear direction about sharing information across sectors and the need to work collaboratively on responding to domestic violence.
Since 2010, the number of BC communities developing Interagency Case Assessment Teams (ICATs) has continued to grow. By delivering ongoing training and support, CCWS provides communities across the province with the means to develop the foundation, skills and tools needed to move forward.
Development of Best Practices
Given the diverse nature of communities in different parts of the province, it is recognized that a one-size ICAT model will not fit all communities, but a common understanding of best practices is crucial. In September 2013, CCWS hosted a two-day Best Practices Roundtable that brought together the expertise of teams in BC with experience in collaborating to review highest risk domestic violence cases. The meeting identified best practices related to safety, privacy and records management and resulted in the first set of best practices to support ICATs.
Interagency Case Assessment Team Best Practices: Working Together to Reduce the Risk of Domestic Violence
Released in June 2017, this is the 2nd edition of the ICAT Best Practices Manual. These best practices were developed collaboratively involving criminal justice, child welfare and community-based anti-violence programs. The overall intent is to increase victim safety in domestic violence cases.
This Best Practices Manual supplements ongoing ICAT training provided by CCWS in collaboration with the RCMP and is meant to be used in conjunction with that training.
To request a copy of this manual, please contact ccws [at] endingviolence [dot] org
Interagency Case Assessment Teams in BC: Provincial File Review Report of High Risk Domestic Violence Cases
This September 2015 report provides some quantitative data on ICATs operating in BC.
CCWS/EVA BC Webinar: Interagency Case Assessment Teams and Identifying Highest Risk Domestic Violence
The webinar was produced as a tool for community partners to learn about the ICAT model for addressing highest risk domestic violence and the evidence based factors used to detect lethal violence. The slide presentation is coupled with audio clips of key resource people.
To view this Webinar click on ICAT Webinar. From this new page, you will have the option of downloading the Webinar by clicking Download, located in the upper left on the menu bar. Please note that the presentation features many embedded audio clips that may take some seconds to load between slides.
- To view and edit the presentation, please click the following link: ICAT Orientation Presentation.