Child Maltreatment Risk Assessment is defined as the process of evaluating individuals in order to:
1. Characterise the risk or threat that a child will be maltreated
2. Develop interventions to manage and reduce that risk
(Webster, et al., 1997)
The focus should then be on decision making about what the individuals were trying to achieve and not simply what happened. It is the task of professionals to understand how and why a person has come to act harmfully in the past in order to determine whether the antecedents to that event might lead to similar events re-occurring.
The ultimate goal is the prevention of child maltreatment and resultant harm. This assessment procedure aims to be reliable in terms of replicable, consistent results. It should be used to identify, evaluate and prioritise health, social care and legal services that can work together to manage the risk of child maltreatment.
A process of structured professional judgment, such as the FRaSA, helps professionals make explicit, as far as possible, the basis for their opinions, decisions and interventions (Webster, et al., 1997).