chapter  2
Violence risk assessment and management: putting structured professional judgment into practice
ByKEVIN S. DOUGLAS, ADAM J. E. BLANCHARD AND MELISSA C. HENDRY
Pages 27

Forecasting and managing a person’s risk for violence is called for in many mental health and criminal justice contexts around the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, legal developments in North America pushed risk assessment – historically also referred to as violence prediction or dangerousness – into the spotlight. And it was not a favourable light in which to be. Scholars derided mental health professionals’ abilities to make accurate statements about which patients or offenders were more or less likely to be violent in the future (Cocozza and Steadman, 1976; Ennis and Litwack, 1974). Yet, legal cases (Barefoot v. Estelle, 1983; Re Moore and the Queen, 1984; Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 1976) and statutory enactments such as Sexually Violent Predator civil commitment laws (USA) and Dangerous and Long-Term Offender legislation (Canada) have cemented the role of violence risk assessments in legal contexts. All jurisdictions in the US, Canada and the UK contained ‘dangerousness’ provisions within civil commitment laws by the 1980s (Wilson and Douglas, 2009).