Violence Risk Assessment


Admission requirements

1. Bachelor’s degree with a major in social- or behavioural science or medicine.
2. English B.


credits 100%


Syllabus for students autumn 2018

Course Code:
KA732E revision 2
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Date of ratification:
02 February 2018
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Health and Society
Enforcement date:
03 September 2018
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
22 June 2015

Entry requirements

1. Bachelor’s degree with a major in social- or behavioural science or medicine.
2. English B.


The aim of this course is for the student to develop in depth theoretical knowledge about risk assessment for violent individuals. The student also has the possibility to practice their skills in applying methods of risk assessment.


The course begins with a general overview of risk assessments and risk management within different societal organizations. This is followed by a summary of modern, national as well as international, research pertaining to risk assessment for interpersonal violence. Definitions of relevant concepts and their interrelations will also be addressed. Specific importance is attached to the understanding of how risk assessment methods have developed, as well as the advantages and disadvantages that exist with different methods. Particular focus is directed at the roll of risk assessments within different parts of the criminal justice system, especially the police. The course concludes by taking up different practical methods and analyses them with regard to the “pay-off matrix”, the ways to judge risk, the implicit strategies of risk management approaches and what one can accomplish in terms of fewer violent incidents, as well as the different costs of these strategies.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to
1. describe the theorietcal and emprical foundations of violence risk assessment,
2. describe the development and prevalence of violence risk assessment and their application within different national and international organisations,
3. discuss the possibilities and conditions surrounding the risk for violence and be able to make the connection to the following statistical models: sensitivity, specificity and “pay-off matrix, and
4. analyse the predictive validity of different risk assessment instruments in relation to criminal recidivism.

Learning activities

The teaching is built upon active student participation, with a focus on student learning. The classes are conducted in the combined form of lectures, seminars and workshops, as well as group work and individual study. In order for the student to achieve learning outcomes 1 to 4, the theoretical and empirical foundations, as well as the development and occurence of interpersonal violence is presented and discussed in lectures and seminars. The student is expected to prepare by familiarising oneself with the litterature assigned at each stage of the course. In order for the student to achieve leaning outcomes 3 and 4 it is also expected that the student take part in practical assignments at seminars and workshops as well as compose an individual assignment that is peer-reviewed in class.


Of all the scheduled course activities, participation in seminars is obligatory and represents, together with individual assignments, the basis for assessment on the course. Learning outcomes 1 and 2 are assessed by seminar assignments. Learning outcome 3 and 4 are assessed by an individually submitted assignment that is peer reviewed in class.

Right to re-examination
A student who fails to achieve a passing grade in the course examination will be given the opportunity to be re-examined twice according to same course content and with the same requirements. In addition, students also have the right to be examined on the same course the next time the course is offered according to the same regulations. If the course has been discontinued or undergone major changes, the student has a right to re-examination on two occasions within one year, based on the syllabus that was in place at the time the student registered for the course. Examination and re-examination take place at the times specified in the schedule.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Belfrage H, Strand S, Storey J E, Gibas A L, Kropp R P, Hart S D (2011). Assessment and Management of Risk for Intimate Partner Violence by Police Officers using the Spousal assault Risk assessment Guide. Law and Human Behavior, doi. 10.1007/s10979-011-9278-0.

Belfrage H, Strand S (2009). Validation of the Stalking Assessment and Management checklist (SAM) in law enforcement: a prospective study of 153 cases of stalking in two Swedish police counties. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 11 (1), 67-76. 9 p.

Henrik Belfrage, Susanne Strand, Linda Ekman, and Anna-Karin Hasselborg (2012). Assessing risk of patriarchal violence with honor as a motive: six years’ experience using the PATRIARCH checklist. International Journal of Police Science & Management: March 2012, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 20-29. 9 p.

Douglas K S, Cox D, Webster C D (1999). Violence risk assessment: science and practice. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 4(2), 149-184. 35 p.

Doyle M, Dolan M (2002). Violence risk assessment: combining actuarial and clinical information to structure clinical judgments for the formulation and management of risk. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental health Nursing, 9, 649-657. 9 p.

Ennis B J, Litwack T R (1974). Psychiatry and the Presumption of Expertise: Flipping Coins in the Courtroom. California Law Review, 62(3), 693-752. 59 p.

Grove W, Meehl P (1996). Comparative efficiency of informal (subjective, impressionistic) and formal (mechanical, algorithmic) prediction procedures: the clinical-statistical controversy. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 2, 293-323. 30 p.

Hart S D (1998). The role of psychopathy in assessing risk for violence: Conceptual and methodological issues. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 3, 121-137. 17 p.

Monahan J (1984). The prediction of violent behavior: toward a second generation of theory and policy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 141, 10-15. 5 p.

Otto, R., K och Douglas, K., S. (red) (2009). Handbook of Violence Risk Assessment International Perspectives on Forensic Mental Health. Routledge. 316 p.

Storey J E, Gibas A L, Reeves K A, Hart S D (2011). Evaluation of a Violence Risk (Threat) Assessment Training Program for Police and Other Criminal Justice Professionals. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38 (6), 554-564. 10 p.

Additional articles from scientific journals will also be included, approx. 200 pages.

Course evaluation

The course coordinator/examiner is responsible for ensuring that a summary course evaluation is conducted at the end of the course. The coordinator will relay these results to the students at a prearranged time. Notes from the feedback, including proposals for changes to the course, will be documented and made available on the course website, and will also be relayed to the students who begin the course the next time it is given.

Course reports


The education is provided by the Faculty of Health and Society at the department Criminology.

Further information

Klara Svalin, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657786
Maria O Driscoll, Student Administrator
Phone: 040-6657968