Assessment of violence risk in youth for juvenile court: Relevant factors for clinical judgment

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BACKGROUND: Assessment of violence risk in youth for juvenile court needs to be improved. AIM: To determine which items of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) are recorded in pre-trial mental health evaluations and which of these items are associated with the clinical judgment of the risk of violent recidivism. METHOD: A total of one hundred forensic diagnostic juvenile court files were rated with regard to the presence or absence of the thirty SAVRY risk items: ten historical, six contextual and eight individual items, and six protective items. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis were used to examine the relationship between SAVRY risk items and the clinical judgment of violence risk. RESULTS: Most SAVRY-items had been recorded in the files. However, five historical items and the contextual item 'rejection by peers' did not appear in 25-62% of the files. Especially SAVRY items like 'negative-attitudes' and 'psychopathic traits' were the most powerful predictors for clinical judgment of high violence risk. Unexpectedly, historical items played a minor role in clinical judgment. CONCLUSION: Prospective research is needed with the use of SAVRY-items to improve evidence based violence risk assessment in court ordered mental health evaluations of youngsters
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-240
JournalInternational journal of law and psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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