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DVI-Short Form

The DVI-Short Form is a brief, easily administered and automated (computer-scored) adult domestic violence offender screening instrument, or test. The DVI-Short Form consists of 76 items and takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The Short Form has six scales (measures): 1. Truthfulness Scale, 2. Violence (Lethality) Scale, 3. Alcohol Scale, 4. Drugs Scale, 5. Control Scale, and 6. Stress Coping Abilities Scale.

The DVI-Short Form evolved from the Domestic Violence Inventory (DVI) and contains variations of the six DVI scales. The DVI-Short Form assesses attitudes and behaviors important in domestic violence offender profiling. Paper-pencil test administration takes on average 17 minutes and tests are computer scored on-site within 2½ minutes. The DVI-Short Form was developed specifically for domestic violence offender evaluation. It is much more than just another alcohol and drug test; consequently, it measures important attitudes and behaviors missed by other tests.


  • Assessment of adults accused or convicted of domestic violence.
  • Domestic violence assessment in clinics, court settings and service provider offices.
  • Adult courts, pretrial and pre-sentence investigations.
  • Adult evaluation, counseling and treatment agencies.
  • Reading impaired domestic violence offenders.
  • High volume assessment agencies.
  • A Domestic Violence Inventory retest.

Six Scales (Measures)

The six DVI-Short Form scales are described as follows:

    1. Truthfulness Scale: Measures how cooperative, open and truthful the offender was while completing the test. It identifies denial, guardedness, problem minimization and attempts to "fake good".
    2. Violence (Lethality) Scale: Measures the use of force to injure, damage or destroy. This scale identifies people that are a danger to themselves and others.
    3. Control Scale: Measures a person’s need to control others. Control refers to the process of regulating, restraining or controlling others. Controlling behaviors include swearing, intimidating, pushing, hitting and battering.
    4. Alcohol Scale: Measures the severity of alcohol use and abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquors. Alcohol is often involved in domestic violence scenes.
    5. Drugs Scale: Measures the severity of illicit drug use or abuse. Drugs refer to marijuana, crack, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates and heroin. Illicit drugs are frequently involved in domestic violence.
    6. Stress Coping Abilities Scale: Measures a person’s ability to cope with stress, anxiety and pressure. Stress exacerbates mental health symptomology. This scale is a non-introversive screen for established (diagnosable) emotional and mental health problems.

Why Use the DVI-Short Form?

Domestic violence is increasing across the U.S. These statistics underscore the abhorrent effects of domestic violence and the importance of accurate assessment. Early detection of domestic violence perpetrators facilitates quicker intervention and treatment. This type of information also helps in deciding upon levels of probation, supervision, counseling, treatment and incarceration.

At one sitting of approximately 15 to 20 minutes’ duration, staff can acquire a vast amount of information. The DVI-Short Form collects information on offender acting out (violence), controlling tendencies, substance abuse and stress coping abilities. Early problem identification facilitates timely intervention and improved outcome.

Advantages of Screening

Screening or assessment instruments filter out people with serious problems. This filtering system works as follows:

Risk Category

Risk Range Percentile

Total Percentage

Low Risk

0 - 39%


Medium Risk

40 - 69%


Problem Risk

70 - 89%


Severe Problem

90 - 100%


Reference to the above table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale score is at the 70th percentile or higher. These risk range percentiles are based upon over 45,000 people who have taken the DVI and DVI-Short Form. This procedure is fair and avoids extremes, i.e., over-identification and under-identification of problems and risk.

A state, department or agency policy might refer clients with identified problems for further evaluation, intervention or treatment services. In this case, 31% of the people screened (Problem Risk and Severe Risk) would be referred. Or, policy might only refer people with serious problems (Severe Problem, 11%) for additional services. In these examples, 69% or 89% (contingent upon adopted policy) of the people screened would not be referred for additional (and expensive) services.

Budgetary savings (dollars) would be large with no compromises in clients receiving appropriate evaluation and/or treatment services. Indeed, more offenders would receive help. Without a screening program, there is usually more risk of over or under-utilization of additional professional services.

DVI-Short Form scales identify areas of concern. These scales (measures) are: 1. Truthfulness Scale, 2. Violence Scale, 3. Control Scale, 4. Alcohol Scale, 5. Drugs Scale and 6. Stress Coping Abilities Scale.

Why Develop the DVI-Short Form?

Domestic violence is an all too frequent serious crime. It varies in severity from swearing or pushing to battering. Contributing factors are many and include substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, violence (lethality) propensity, control issues and impaired stress coping abilities. The DVI-Short Form evaluates all of these important areas of inquiry.

Approximately 20+ percent of domestic violence offenders are reading impaired. The 76 item DVI-Short Form is more concise than the DVI. The Short Form enables many reading impaired offenders to complete the DVI.

Unique DVI-Short Form Features

The Truthfulness Scale measures how truthful the respondent was while completing the DVI-Short Form. This scale identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. Many domestic violence offenders attempt to minimize their problems. The DVI-Short Form Truthfulness Scale has been validated with other tests, truthfulness studies and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L and F-Scales. It consists of a number of items that most people agree or disagree with. This important scale has been demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. Much of this research is reported in the document titled “DVI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings.”

Truth-Corrected Scores have proven to be important in enhancing assessment accuracy. This proprietary truth correction program is comparable to the MMPI K-Scale correction methodology. The DVI-Short Form Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the other five DVI-Short Form scales. The Truth-Correction equation converts raw scores to Truth-Corrected scores. Raw scores reflect what the offender wants you to know. Truth-Corrected scores reveal what the offender is trying to hide. Truth-Corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores.

The Violence (Lethality) Scale measures the respondent’s propensity for using force to injure, damage or destroy. It identifies the respondent’s danger to self and others. The growing awareness of violence in our society resulted in the inclusion of the Violence (Lethality) Scale in the DVI-Short Form. When screening violence or lethality potential is important, we recommend you use the DVI-Short Form.

Control in psychoanalytic theory, is the process of restraining or regulating impulses. In social psychology, control is often a synonym of power or influence. In domestic violence, “control” refers to the process of restraining, regulating or controlling others. Controlling behaviors include, but are not limited to: pushing, swearing, intimidating and hitting. The concept of control has become an important construct in domestic violence research. Consequently, the Control Scale was added to the DVI in 1998. The inclusion of the Control Scale is an example of the DVI-Short Form being designed specifically to assess domestic violence perpetrators. The Control Scale adds greatly to our assessment and understanding of domestic violence perpetrators. This important area of inquiry is overlooked by other domestic violence tests.

Substance Abuse Screening is important because alcohol and/or drug use is often associated with domestic violence. The Alcohol Scale identifies alcohol use and measures the severity of abuse. Similarly, the Drugs Scale identifies illicit drug use and measures the severity of abuse.

The Stress Coping Abilities Scale measures how well the respondent handles tension, stress and pressure. This scale goes beyond establishing whether or not the respondent is experiencing stress. It determines how well the respondent handles or copes with stress. Stress exacerbates emotional and mental health symptoms. Consequently, this scale is a non-introversive way to screen established (diagnosable) mental health problems. A client scoring at or above the 90th percentile on the Stress Coping Abilities Scale should be referred to a certified/ licensed mental health professional for a more comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, as warranted. This important area of inquiry is missed by other domestic violence tests.

More than just another alcohol or drugs test. In addition to alcohol and drugs, the DVI-Short Form assesses other important areas of inquiry like truthfulness, violence (lethality), control issues and stress coping abilities. The DVI-Short Form is designed specifically for domestic violence perpetrator assessment.

The DVI-Short Form is popular in high volume domestic violence assessment settings and as an alternative test when the longer Domestic Violence Inventory (DVI) is invalidated. The DVI Short-Form is a shorter form of the Domestic Violence Inventory (DVI). In summary, the DVI-Short Form is an alternative domestic violence offender assessment instrument or test.