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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 8, 537 - 542

New research

The reliability of risk assessment in 'pro Justitia' reports. An investigation on the basis of the HKT-30

W.J. Canton, T.S. van der Veer, P.J.A. van Panhuis, R. Verheul, W. van den Brink

background Estimating the chance that offenders will relapse into violent behaviour is an important concern in forensic psychiatry. It should be possible to reliably estimate the chance of relapse in 'pro Justitia' reports by awarding scores on the basis of a standardised instrument for risk assessment.
aim To investigate the inter-rater reliability of risk assessment with the help of a standardised instrument for risk assessment.
method Three experienced reporters reviewed the same 74 'pro Justitia' reports independently and awarded their own scores for the information contained therein. These scores were entered on the hkt-30 (historical-clinical-future), which is a standardised instrument for risk assessment.
results The reliability of the historical items and the future items was generally good to very good; the reliability of the clinical items was reasonable to good.
conclusion A standardised instrument such as the hkt-30 can be used to produce a reasonably reliable risk assessment. The discussion gives useful advice about improvements that can be made in this risk assessment instrument.

keywords forensic psychiatry, reliability, risk assessment