Criminology: Violence Risk Assessment


Admission requirements

A bachelor’s degree with a major in social- or behaviour sciences or medicine and English 6.


credits 100%


Syllabus for students autumn 2022, autumn 2021, autumn 2020, autumn 2019

Course Code:
KA832E revision 1
Swedish name:
Kriminologi: Riskbedömning för våld
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Date of ratification:
11 December 2018
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Health and Society
Enforcement date:
02 September 2019

Entry requirements

A bachelor’s degree with a major in social- or behaviour sciences or medicine and English 6.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course is given in the third term of the Master’s Program in Criminology and is a course within the main field of study that may be counted toward the Master’s Degree in Criminology. The course is also offered as an independent course.


The aim of this course is for the student to develop in depth theoretical and criminological relevant knowledge about the risk concept and risk assessment of violence in different criminal justice and mental health contexts, such as police and forensic psychiatric settings.


The course begins with a general overview of risk, risk assessments and risk management within different criminal justice and mental health organizations, e.g. police and forensic psychiatric settings. This is followed by a summary of modern, national as well as international, research pertaining to risk assessment for violence. Definitions of relevant concepts and their interrelations will also be addressed. Specific importance is attached to the understanding of advantages and disadvantages that is related to different kinds of risk assessment and management, e.g. regarding individuals, groups and situations.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:
1. describe the theoretical and empirical foundations of violence risk assessment, starting with the unstructured clinical violence risk assessment approach in criminal justice and mental health settings, specifically in the forensic psychiatric care,
2. describe the development and prevalence of violence risk assessment and their application within different national and international organizations, e.g. police and forensic psychiatric settings, and
3. discuss the possibilities and conditions surrounding the assessment of risk for violence regarding individuals, groups and situations. .

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- 3, the theoretical and empirical foundations, as well as the development and occurrence of different kinds of violence risk assessment, are presented and discussed in lectures and seminars. The student is expected to prepare by familiarising oneself with the literature assigned at each stage of the course. Participation in seminars and completion of related individual, written and oral, seminar assignments are compulsory. In order for the student to achieve learning outcome 3 the student shall also compose an individual assignment


Of all the scheduled course activities, participation in seminars and completion of related individual, written and oral, seminar assignments are compulsory and represents, together with the individual assignment, the basis for assessment on the course. Learning outcomes 1 and 2 are assessed by a seminar assignment, in which focus for assessment is the student’s descriptions of different kinds of violence risk assessment, management approaches and their origin. Learning outcome 3 is assessed by an individually submitted assignment, where focus of assessment is on the student’s ability to argue based on the scientific literature. Any absence in compulsory parts shall, at the discretion of the examiner, be compensated by attending one of the follow-up seminars. Fail individual assignments can be revised up to a pass mark (E).
To receive a Passing Grade (C, D or E) it is required that the student fulfil the learning outcomes by taking part in seminars, completing the individual seminar assignment and the individual assignment. Achievement of the Grade of Distinction (A or B) requires that the examined course work is characterized by originality and meta-theoretical understanding and has been assessed with grade A or B.

Right to re-take
Students who fail the exam are given the opportunity to do two re-takes with the same course content and with the same requirements. The student also has the right to take the examination in the same course in the subsequent course according to the same rule. Examination and re-takes are carried out at the times specified in the course 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, (2012) Assessment and Management of Risk for Intimate Partner Violence by Police Officers using the Spousal assault Risk assessment Guide. Law and Human Behavior, 36 (1), 60-67. 8 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.

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.
Lindström E, Olausson M, Tuninger E, Levander S, (2018)Clinical Risk Assessment-Organizing Information Using Criminological Theory Seems to Work. Forensic Science and Addiction Research, 2(5), 1-8. 8p.

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, Douglas K S, (red) (2009) Handbook of Violence Risk Assessment International Perspectives on Forensic Mental Health. New York, US: Routledge. 316 p.
Skeem J L, Manchak S M, Lidz C W, Mulvey E P, (2013) The utility of patients’ self-perceptions of violence risk: Consider asking the person who may know best. Psychiatric services, 64(5), 410-415. 6p.

Additional articles from scientific journals will also be included, approx. 400 pages.

Course evaluation

The course coordinator is responsible for conducting a summative evaluation after each module and give feedback to the students at the beginning of the next course. Notes from the feedback are made available to the course’s students and feedback is given to the students who will start the course in the next course session.

Interim rules

If a course is no longer offered or has undergone major changes, students are offered two re-take sessions based on the syllabus in force at registration during a period of one year from the date of the implementation of the changes.

Course reports


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

Further information

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


04 October 2021 - 05 November 2021 Day-time 100% Malmö Application period for this offer starts 15 March 2021.

03 October 2022 - 04 November 2022 Day-time 100% Malmö