Violence risk assessment tools : a systematic review of surveys

C.C. Hurducas, J.P. Singh*, C. de Ruiter, J. Petrila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The present study is a systematic review exploring the methodological quality and consistency of findings for surveys on the use of violence risk assessment tools. A systematic search was conducted to identify surveys of violence risk assessment tool use published between January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2013 using PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and EBSCO Criminal Justice Abstracts. Characteristics of survey administration and more findings were extracted, and a checklist of 26 reporting quality markers in survey research was used for coding. Nine surveys were identified, fulfilling on average approximately half of the quality markers (M = 15.5, SD = 1.6). An average of 104 respondents (SD = 93) participated, with a range of 10 to 300 respondents. Most surveys examined the practices of psychologists in the United Kingdom or the United States. The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and the Historical, Clinical, Risk Management-20 were the most commonly used instruments by practitioners. No surveys investigated differences in assessment practices across professional disciplines or continents, and none examined the use or perceived usefulness of structured instruments in risk management or risk monitoring. There continues to be a need for transparent, high quality clinical surveys on the use and perceived utility of violence risk assessment tools in the forensic mental health field. Given the growing cross-jurisdictional use of risk assessment tools, comparisons of international practice are particularly important.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • MAIL
  • forensic assessment
  • risk assessment
  • survey
  • systematic review
  • violence


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