R& B singer Chris Brown has pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend, Rihanna. The gossip site TMZ.com had posted a photo of Rihanna with cuts and bruises after a pre Grammy Award altercation with Brown. Brown will be on probation for five years, attend a yearlong domestic violence prevention class and complete six months of community service. The judge also issued a “stay away” order that bars Brown from contacting Rihanna or coming near Rihanna. This closely watched case has played out internationally in the media due to the celebrity status of the parties involved. Intimate partner violence is an international problem that cuts across all social levels; perhaps the attention drawn to this case will motivate women involved in violent relationships to seek help.

One helpful and noteworthy website for domestic violence is http://www.dangerassessment.org/WebApplication1/pages/product.aspx. According to the site, every year, 3-4 million women in the U.S. are abused and 1,200 to 1,500 are killed by their abusers. The site provides a good list of national resources for domestic violence help, including hotlines, teen dating violence and adult domestic violence resources.

Several risk factors have been associated with increased risk of homicides of women and men in violent relationships. Once these risk factors have been identified a trained individual can make predictions about violent behavior. Jacquelyn C. Cambell PhD, RN, has developed a Danger Assessment certification course and a Danger assessment questionnaire. The website DangerAssesment.org provides a free download of the twenty questions used to assess an individual’s situation and a list of types of violent behavior that should be tracked. Victims of abuse should use the scale to mark the level of abuse on a calendar. They should also answer the questions on the danger assessment list.

The free Danger Assessment list can be found at http://www.dangerassessment.org/WebApplication1/pages/da/DAEnglish.pdf .

Individuals seeking help are encouraged to talk to their nurse, advocate or counselor about what the Danger Assessment means in terms of their situation. If an individual is caught up in a situation of domestic violence they would be wise to educate themselves. The Danger Assessment website is also a good tool to aide family law attorneys in assessing their clients’ situation if the client is confronting domestic violence issues.