November 6, 2011

Call for papers on violence risk assessment

The field of violence risk assessment has expanded rapidly over the past several decades. But despite a plethora of new risk assessment tools, confusion abounds as to how to understand their accuracy and utility. And controversy is growing over how well these tools actually predict violence in the individual case.

To address these gaps, forensic scholars John Petrila and Jay Singh of the University of South Florida have teamed up to edit a special issue of the respected journal, Behavioral Sciences and the Law on the topic of "measuring and interpreting the predictive validity of violence risk assessment."

The goal of the special issue is to provide a comprehensive and accessible resource for researchers, clinicians, and policymakers interested in the measurement of predictive validity or the use of such findings in clinical or legal practice.

The editors invite empirical and conceptual papers on the measurement of predictive validity as it relates to violence risk assessment. In addition, papers focusing on the implications of the measurement of predictive validity for public protection and individual liberty are also welcome, as are legal perspectives on these issues.

Papers should be no longer than 35 pages, including tables, figures and references. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2012. Authors should send two electronic copies of any submission, one blinded for peer review, to John Petrila, JD or Jay P. Singh, PhD.

1 comment:

jedson said...

I don't have the time or inclination to pull together a whole paper on risk assessment for violence. But for what it is worth, here are the three basic laws of psychology as I see them:

People do what they usually do.
People don't do what they usually don't do.
Sometimes they surprise us.

I am being facetious, but only partly so. I do think that when you boil it down, the most reliable predictor of what people will do in the future is what they have done in the past. Psycho dynamics, though interesting, is an unnecessary complication when it comes to predicting. The problem with predicting violence with regard to sex abuse is simple. By defining a consensual and non-violent act as coercive and "violent" the sex abuse industry is playing Humpty Dumpty with the English language. They have their reasons, I suppose, but this makes the predicting of behavior that really is violent very difficult. One of the ramifications of insisting on clarity with language is that if clear distinctions were made it would be discovered that a person convicted of a violent non-sexual crime is more likely to commit a violent sexual crime than is a person who committed a non-violent consensual crime. The obfuscation of language with regard to the terms "violent" and "consent" is a deliberate political strategy. The primary agenda of the sex abuse industry here is to keep offenders whose crimes were in the ordinary sense of both terms consensual and non-violent in the same category as those who really were both violent and coercive. The secondary agenda to to prevent anyone from discussing the fact that many "victims" wanted or even initiated the contact. I don't think that a paper that made these points would be accepted by any main-stream journal. The myth of the "innocent" (read asexual) child is too dear to the hearts of Americans. Do people simply not remember their childhoods??