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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Professionals often utilize some form of structured approach (i.e., decision support tool or risk assessment instrument) when evaluating the risk of future violence and associated management needs. This chapter presents an overview of decision support tools that are used to assist professionals when conducting a violence risk assessment and that have received considerable empirical evaluation and professional uptake. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the two main approaches to evaluations of risk (actuarial and structured professional judgment) are discussed, including a review of empirical findings regarding their predictive validity. Following a summary of commonalities among the tools, this chapter provides a brief description of 10 decision support tools focusing on their applicability and purpose, content and characteristics, and available empirical research. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of several critical considerations regarding the appropriate use and selection of tools.

Keywords: decision support tools, violence risk assessment, structured professional judgment, actuarial, sexual violence, spousal violence, stalking

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