Violence Risk Assessment with the HCR-20V3 in Legal Contexts
Violence Risk Assessment with the HCR-20V3 in Legal Contexts: A Critical Reflection
August 30, 2022 | 3:00 - 4:00 pm | 1 CE Credit
The HCR-20V3 is a violence risk assessment tool that is widely used in forensic clinical practice for risk management planning. The predictive value of the tool, when used in court for legal decision-making, is not yet intensively been studied and questions about legal admissibility may arise. This article aims to provide legal and mental health practitioners with an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the HCR-20V3 when applied in legal settings. The HCR-20V3 is described and discussed with respect to its psychometric properties for different groups and settings. Issues involving legal admissibility and potential biases when conducting violence risk assessments with the HCR-20V3 are outlined. To explore legal admissibility challenges with respect to the HCR-20V3, we searched case law databases since 2013 from Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. In total, we found 546 cases referring to the HCR-20/HCR-20V3. In these cases, the tool was rarely challenged (4.03%), and when challenged, it never resulted in a court decision that the risk assessment was inadmissible. Finally, we provide recommendations for legal practitioners for the cross-examination of risk assessments and recommendations for mental health professionals who conduct risk assessments and report to the court. We conclude with suggestions for future research with the HCR-20V3 to strengthen the evidence base for use of the instrument in legal contexts.
Goals and Objectives
- Identify the practical applications of using structured risk assessment tools like the HCR-20 V3 in legal contexts
- Identify the most relevant problematic issues associated with using structured risk assessment tools like the HCR-20 V3 in legal contexts
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