Dummy’s Guide to Forensic Risk Assessment

A risk assessment identifies risk factors, anticipated level of risk, and necessary risk reduction and management strategies.

Conclusion language utilizes specification of risk factors and risk reduction strategies that may mitigate identified risk factors.

Risk assessments should include both risk likelihood and risk reduction. Risk assessment assumes probability of recurrence in the absence of risk reduction strategies. [Note: Ordinarily the VRAG estimate would be for those people who have not been in some risk reduction strategy, for example, .17 over 7 years in individuals who have not been in supervision]. Risk management reduces risk likelihood. A final risk assessment statement should include estimates of likelihood with both treated and untreated conditions.

Descriptors of risk level and associated risk reduction strategy:

High risk should be applied to cases where there are a) many relevant risk factors, or b) that require frequent, intensive, or highly restrictive supervision, monitoring, management, or intervention in order to reduce risk. High risk is based on the number and relevance of risk factors that are present, and associated degree of intervention, supervision, monitoring, or management required to mitigate risk.

Low risk is reserved for cases a) in which there are few relevant risks factors present, or b) that require minimal or no supervision, monitoring, management, or intervention in order to reduce future risk behaviors.

Moderate risk should be applied to cases which are neither high nor low.

Recommendations should include the range of risk management approaches, as well as the likely level of risk reduction.

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