Achieving transparency in forensic risk assessment: a multimodal approach




Achieving transparency in forensic risk assessment: a multimodal approach.

Achieving transparency in forensic risk assessment: a multimodal approach

  1. Amy Horstead and
  2. Adrian Cree

+Author Affiliations

  1. Amy Horstead is a forensic psychologist in training at Priory’s Farmfield and Sturt House Hospitals in Surrey, and a risk assessment trainer and honorary researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. Adrian Cree is Regional Clinical Director and a consultant forensic psychiatrist at Partnerships in Care’s North London Clinic and a visiting senior lecturer and honorary co-director of the Forensic Teaching Unit at the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. Both authors pursue research in risk assessment and management.
  1. Correspondence Amy Horstead, Farmfield Hospital, Farmfield Drive, Charlwood, Surrey RH6 0BN, UK. Email:


The Department of Health’s best practice guidelines on risk management and violence prevention in UK mental health services highlight the importance of transparency and collaboration with service users. The recovery philosophy echoes the importance of service user inclusion and empowerment in treatment. Our experience in a medium and low secure hospital was that patients were largely excluded from the risk assessment process. In this article, we describe a model for achieving inclusion and transparency in the use of risk assessment tools based on structured professional judgement.

Risk assessment and management: forensic methods, human results

  1. John Baird and
  2. Ruth Stocks

+Author Affiliations

  1. John Baird is accredited by the Risk Management Authority (RMA) as a risk assessor and is a member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland and of the Parole Board for England and Wales. He is also an honorary consultant forensic psychiatrist with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC). Ruth Stocks is a chartered clinical and forensic psychologist who specialises in the assessment and treatment of mentally disordered offenders. She is Professional Lead for Psychology in Forensic Mental Health in the Directorate of Forensic Mental Health, NHSGGC, and a part-time Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland visitor.
  1. Correspondence Ruth Stocks, Douglas Inch Centre, 2 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow G3 7UY, UK. Email:


Risk assessment and management is an integral part of modern clinical practice. In this article we discuss best practice in the assessment and management of risk of harm to others. Unstructured clinical judgement methods have been used for many years, but it is only more recently that actuarial and structured clinical judgement methods have been introduced. These methods are discussed and compared. We describe a process that could be followed by a clinical team and give an illustrative case example. Last, we reflect on aspects of current practice and consider the possible direction of developments in the field.



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