Frequently Asked Questions

Select a question below to learn more.

While the maltreatment report process may vary by location, our general recommendation is that the clinician conducts the incident assessment, analyzes the information, and presents the incident case to the incident determination committee (IDC). If the incident case meets criteria, the clinician should then determine the severity rating using the web-based tool.

As with all of the language used in the scales, the wording was drafted by experts and then piloted. Reasonable Potential (where, “lucky” is found), underwent some of the most revision, due to the challenging nature of rating something that did not, but could have, happened. “Lucky,” along with the other wording used in this item, was found to be, by far, the best way to express the concept of “reasonable potential” within the severity ratings.

Keep in mind how the use of the word “lucky” could be used to ask about reasonable potential for a serious injury to occur. Was there an injury, but that injury could have been significantly worse? Did an object that was thrown at the victim just barely miss the victim’s eye? If the victim was pushed, is it lucky that they fell on carpet and not on cement or hardwood floors?

Remember that psychological development focuses on emotional/mental ability, and cognitive development is intellect and achievement. These ratings are more challenging because it is a potential question: What could happen? For these, you’ll want to think about the child’s current level of functioning and their environment. So, for psychological development, if the child is already exhibiting psychological symptoms, that could put them at a higher risk for future difficulties. This is magnified if they are in a challenging environment (e.g., the mother struggles with depression). For cognitive development, think about how they are functioning in terms of potential achievement. How are they currently performing, and what could that mean for future achievement? Are they in an environment to nurture achievement?

Based on the type of maltreatment, the clinician will assess the impact across domains. Use your professional judgment when assessing the frequency, duration, and intensity of the symptoms, and remember to identify changes in symptoms based on the alleged incident. Another way to consider somewhat, highly, and extremely is to equivocate somewhat with mild, highly with moderate, and extreme with severe.

Due to the low base rate of Partner Neglect, there is not a severity scale for Partner Neglect. Instead, it is part of Partner Emotional.

Assuming this question comes from the descriptions in, “functioning in major roles.” Think of tardy as late to the point where it is noticed. So, a student gets marked into attendance past the first school day bell. An employee’s timecard is marked past the start time and it is noted on their record.

Extremely impacted means exceptional difficulties in life roles and can be observed in many ways. One also needs to consider where the person was at baseline, prior to the maltreatment. How did the maltreatment cause or exacerbate the extreme impact? For example: Consider a child who was a scholar athlete prior to maltreatment. Following the maltreatment, the student is failing, suspended from all sports teams, and is at risk for repeating a grade. That is an extreme impact.

Extreme impact is determined by the frequency, duration, and intensity of the symptoms across all major roles. Examples of extreme impact could be the individual not seeing friends or family members or attending social gatherings or the individual displaying very poor work performances and not meeting basic obligations due to fatigue as the result of the abuse.

As soon as, and as long as, it is relevant, while remembering the fear/anxiety must be related (caused or exacerbated by) to the maltreatment.

Assess for visible injuries that can include but are not limited to defensive wounds, petechia, bruising, swelling and/or ligature marks. Additionally, assess for non-visible injuries, such as breathing and voice changes, trouble swallowing, and behavioral changes.

Somatic symptoms, bodily/physical complaints and concerns that are directly related to stress, are often challenging to identify. Some factors to look for in children are trips to the school nurse, complaints of stomach aches, and visits to the pediatrician. Some factors to look for in adults are headaches, stomachaches, chest pain, general soreness, and fatigue. Consider frequency, duration, and intensity of somatic symptoms, and answer questions on the ISS about somatic symptoms by looking at how they impact a person’s major roles.

Please note that the DOD policy states that the ISS is completed for incidents that the Incident Determination Committee (IDC) found to have met criteria; however; each service branch and installation may face unique challenges related to the IDC/CRB schedule. Please refer to service level and installation level guidance with regards to the timeline for the ISS completion