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Clinical judgement in violence risk assessment

Murray, Jennifer; Thomson, Mary E


Mary E Thomson


The present article discusses the three main approaches to violence risk assessment, clinical judgement, actuarial assessment, and structured clinical judgement, informing the reader of the comparative benefits and short-comings of these methods of violence risk assessment. In particular, the present article highlights the controversy within the literature surrounding clinical judgement in comparison to actuarial assessments of violence risk, and proposes that the statistically significant ‘improvements’ of violence prediction when using actuarial scales in comparison to clinical predictions of dangerousness do not necessarily measure the skill of the clinician adequately. Specifically, an assessment of ‘dangerousness’ does not equal a prediction of violent recidivism. It is argued that clinicians are not predictive forecasters of risk, as in actuarial scales, but are, rather, trained to manage risk. In addition, suggestions for future research directions in the field of improving violence risk assessments are made.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 27, 2010
Publication Date 2010
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2012
Publicly Available Date Nov 12, 2012
Print ISSN 1841-0413
Electronic ISSN 1841-0413
Publisher PsychOpen
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 128-149
Keywords General Psychology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Nov 12, 2012


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