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Risk Assessment Approaches

Violence risk assessment is relevant to the field of law and psychology because it occurs at numerous junctures in the legal system, and it is one of the key areas of research and clinical practice in forensic psychology. This entry reviews two primary approaches to risk assessment: unstructured and structured. The former approach, sometimes also called clinical prediction or judgment, imposes no rules on the decision-making process, whereas the latter approach does. Two primary approaches to structured risk assessment include (1) actuarial and (2) structured professional judgment (SPJ). Although both structured approaches impose rules in terms of which risk factors are considered and defined, actuarial risk assessment uses an algorithm to combine risk factors into a final decision, whereas SPJ does not. This entry will ...

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