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competent decisions. Such impairment may be due to, for example, age-related dementia, alcohol/other drug addiction, mental disability, mental illness, and/or physical injury or illness. Subsequent intervention strategies should be coordinated with domestic violence service providers when to do so does not violate the confidentiality of the victim.

It is essential that a provider accurately assess mental or physical competency based on sound clinical grounds, and not on the provider's personal or professional opinion about the prudence of an individual victim's decisions. Non-impaired victims often make decisions that conflict with a provider's judgment, however, they not only have the right to make their own decisions, but are in the best position to evaluate the potential  risks and benefits associated with their decisions.

Adult Protective Services (APS) exists to intervene in cases in which adults are significantly compromised in their abilities to make competent decisions about themselves or others for whom they are responsible. In these cases, providers should utilize the supports and expertise available through APS, as well as through the local domestic violence service provider.

d.All providers should be adequately trained to conduct danger assessments and to assist victims in developing short-term safety plans, but without a combination of advanced training and field experience, providers should refer victims to domestic violence service providers or victim-witness advocates for comprehensive risk assessments and safety planning.

Regardless of what a victim intends to do in response to her partner's abuse, it can be a very helpful safety strategy for her to identify and evaluate risks and construct plans for a variety of different situations-for dealing with a crisis, such as an assault by her partner; for continuing to live with or date her partner; for dealing with the risks associated with separation from her partner; and for maintaining an independent life after a permanent separation, divorce, or the termination of a relationship with her partner. Even the most comprehensive safety plan, however, is not a guarantee that a victim will be safe. Safety planning is a tool for developing safety strategies, not

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