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Predictably Unpredictable: Violence Risk Assessment

April 9, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Predictably Unpredictable poster

Doors open at 7. Kickoff at 7.30

Violence risk assessment is a complex task which has been hotly debated in the literature and in the media when things ‘go wrong’. It is a task which simply cannot be an exact science; clinicians and practitioners cannot possibly be expected to know or be able to predict what a person’s actions or circumstances in the future may lead to. They then have to be able to use their expertise and judgement, and a solid evidence base, to forecast what may happen – is a person likely to harm others or themselves in the future, and under what circumstances? In the literature there have been three ‘eras’ of violence risk assessment:

  1. Clinicians using their judgement unaided and largely unrecorded; 
  2. A movement to remove the clinician from the assessment, to ‘predict’ risk using actuarial scales; and 
  3. More recently using an evidence based clinical assessment.

This talk will discuss the pros and cons of these eras of risk assessment and will argue that we should no longer seek to predict risk of violence, as it is not a meaningful metric.

About the Speaker:
Dr Jennifer Murray is an expert in human judgement and decision making, and applies this expertise to the fields of forensic psychology and applied health research. Within these fields, her primary research investigates the ways in which people conduct and form judgements when assessing the risk of violence. Her research is both nationally and internationally recognised, and has led to impact and changes being made within the NHS, Disclosure Scotland, and Police Scotland, with two past projects being formally launched into practice by members of the Scottish Government. The key focus of her work is on developing useful research, the findings of which can be translated to or adopted into improving day to day decision making practice.

This is event is free to attend, although we will be asking for donations at the end of the talk. Participants are under no obligation whatsoever to donate, however please rest assured that the money we collect doesn’t end up in anyone’s pocket – it is used to fund our overhead costs, and travel/accommodation for our speakers who come from further afield.

Accessibility: As per the policy of the Admiral Bar, access to the venue “can only be provided to patrons who are sufficiently mobile and capable of independently evacuating premises, or with the minimum of assistance”. Unfortunately, this leaves the basement inaccessible to most wheelchair users.


April 9, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


The Admiral Bar
72a Waterloo Street
Glasgow, G2 7DA United Kingdom
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