By Jeremy F. Mills PhD CPsych, Daryl G. Kroner PhD CPsych, Robert D. Morgan PhD
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Additional resources for Clinician's guide to violence risk assessment
Advancements in Risk Assessment Assessing “dangerousness” has for many years represented the intersection between the legal system and the mental health system (Monahan, 1984). In fact, dangerousness is more of a legal term than a meaningful mental health construct. , 1994). Through the years research has focused on risk factors and on risk likelihood, but less so on the assessment-of-harm component. Advancements in risk assessment have been described as “generational” by different authors (Andrews, Bonta, & Wormith, 2006; Doyle & Dolan, 2002).
The type of sample being studied can also make a difference in the relationship between mental disorder and violence. Typically, three basic samples have been used to examine the violence–mental illness relationship: psychiatric patients, offenders, and epidemiological community-based studies (Arboleda-Flórez, 1998). Using only a psychotic patient sample to draw conclusions regarding a problem area, such as employment, crime, and homelessness, one may infer that mental illness is an explanatory factor for the difficulties that the individual is experiencing (Drain, Salzer, Culhane, & Hadley, 2002).
We next look at these ethical guidelines, which though specific to psychology should be accepted practice by any clinician undertaking the risk assessment process. Ethics Essentials Ethical Practice and Violence Risk Assessment Clinicians must comply with standards of ethical practice. For example, psychologists are obligated to comply with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2002). However, in no other arena are the principles of ethical practice more prominent than in forensic assessment, including violence risk assessment.
Clinician's guide to violence risk assessment by Jeremy F. Mills PhD CPsych, Daryl G. Kroner PhD CPsych, Robert D. Morgan PhD