Assessing victim risk in cases of violent crime

Khan, Roxanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3485-2450, Willan, Victoria Jane orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0023-7679, Lowe, Michelle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9649-4938, Robinson, Phaedra, Brooks, Matthew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5469-7769, Irving, May, Stokes, Rachel, Graham-Kevan, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0621-3093, Karwacka, Marta et al (2015) Assessing victim risk in cases of violent crime. Safer Communities, 14 (4). pp. 203-211. ISSN 1757-8043

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Purpose: There is a body of evidence that suggests a range of psychosocial characteristics demarcate certain adults to be at an elevated risk for victimisation. To this end, the aim of the current study was to examine consistency between one police force, and a corresponding victim support service based in England, in their assessment of level of risk faced by victims of violent crime.
Methodology: This study explored matched data on 869 adult victims of violent crime gathered from these two key services in Preston, namely Lancashire Constabulary and Victim Support, from which a sub-group of comparable ‘domestic violence’ cases (n=211) were selected for further examination.
Findings: Data analyses revealed methodological inconsistencies in the assessment of victimisation resulting in discrepancies for recorded levels of risk in domestic violence cases across these two agencies.
Practical implications: These findings provide a compelling argument for developing a more uniformed approach to victim assessment and indicate a significant training need.
Value: This paper highlights areas of good practice and forwards several recommendations for improved practice that emphasises the integration of empirical research conducted by psychologists to boost the validity and reliability of risk assessment approaches and tools used.

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