One factor that is important in violence risk assessment is the nature of the violence. Nature of potential violence denotes the type of violence involved, for example, sexual or domestic violence. Another factor is severity of violence such as comparing crimes such as murder to physical assault or reckless driving (Huss, 2008). Frequency of violence is another factor that involves determining if it is repeated criminal behavior or a one-time crime. Psychologists also have to consider imminence of the crime during violence risk assessment. Imminence of the crime determines the proximity of the crimes such as committing a crime every week to one who commits a crime after six months. Finally, another factor is likelihood of committing a crime based on factors such as history, gender, and age among others (Huss, 2008).
Static risk factors of violence denote those factors that are fixed and are not changed by passage of time (Huss, 2008). For example, when determining risk of future crimes, previous histories of violence or having a mental disorder are static factors. Utilizing static factors improves accuracy of risk assessment because it helps make almost accurate predictions. For example, people with mental illnesses and have committed a crime is the past are likely to be repeat offenders. Dynamic factors are flexible and so they change over time such as negative attitude and noncompliance with medication. Dynamic factors are difficult to use to improve risk of assessment because they keep changing.
For example, if a person did not comply with medication at the time of the crime, with therapy, he/she becomes a different individual. Protective factors work by helping reduce the likelihood of an individual committing a crime. These include social support, emotional support, and even financial stability. Protective factors improve accuracy of risk assessment because if a person lives in lower social economic neighborhood, it is possible to predict that the person may commit a crime in future (Huss, 2008).
One weakness of risk assessment is that it is difficult to follow-up on violence. Many violence incidents are not reported but using static factors can help alleviate this problem. Another weakness of risk assessment is that it is hard to measure violence. In this regard, protective factors are useful in ensuring that violence outbursts are decreased (Huss, 2008).
- Huss, M. (2008). Forensic psychology. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.