Assessment of risk for violence

[Speaker] Morris, Laurel M:1
1:Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia (Australia)

Risk assessment is an important role for psychologists working with violent clients. Risk factors are characteristics that may be associated with violent behaviour, while protective factors are characteristics that are likely to reduce offending. Three broad strategies have been used in risk assessments. Unstructured clinical judgements can be inexpensive, but are inherently subjective and lack reliability. Actuarial risk assessments aim to increase reliability by comparison of an individual to data derived from known offenders. Structured professional judgement (SPJ) assessments aim to guide clinical judgement within the constraints of an evidence-based framework. Actuarial and SPJ approaches have been shown to provide reasonable levels of predictive validity. A range of these measures will be discussed in light of the need to determine risk of recidivism, and to manage future risk by identifying the dynamic (changeable) risk management factors on an individual level. Several illustrative cases will be described.
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