Criminology: Violence Risk Assessment
Kriminologi: Riskbedömning för våld
UA / Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U)
Language of instruction
Faculty of Health and Society
Syllabus approval date
Syllabus valid from
A bachelor’s degree with a major in social- or behaviour sciences or medicine and English 6.
Progression level in relation to degree requirements
The course is given in the second 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 prison and probation services, police work, and mental health contexts. An additional aim is for the student to develop knowledge in systematic literature review, by conducting a systematic literature review on a research question related to violence risk assessment.
The course begins with a general overview of the method systematic literature review and violence risk assessment. Thereafter, the students work individually or in group, with support from a supervisor, with the task of conducting a systematic literature review. The students presents their review studies at a compulsory seminar at the end of the course.
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. demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues critically and creatively as well as to plan and undertake a systematic literature review on violence risk assessment,
3. demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically compile and analyze collected information, and
4 demonstrate the ability to contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to orally present the systematic literature review study, within predetermined time frames.
Learning activities are manly based on supervised self-studies and/or group work. The teaching takes the form of lectures, seminars and supervision, individually as well as in groups. In order for the student to achieve learning outcomes 1- 4, the theoretical and empirical foundations of violence risk assessment and the method systematic literature review are presented and discussed in lectures and seminars Participation in the final seminar is compulsory. In order for the student to achieve learning outcome 1-4 the student shall also compose an individual assignment.
Student performance is assessed individually through the systematic literature review study (learning outcomes 1-4) and through the final seminar (learning outcomes 4). Focus of assessment of the systematic literature review study is the student’s ability to describe the theoretical and empirical foundations of violence risk assessment, to independently identify and formulate relevant research questions, critically and to systematically compile, and analyze collected information and orally present the systematic literature review study. Focus of assessment for the final seminar is the student’s ability to discuss and present the written material. Individual performance is assessed by students completing a log book that describes each student’s individual contributions.
Any absence in compulsory parts shall, at the discretion of the examiner, be compensated by attending one of the follow-up seminars. Failed written 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 the compulsory seminar and completing 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.
Course literature and other study material
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.
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.
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.
Xiao Y, Watson M, (2019) Guidance on Conducting a Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 39(1), 93–112. 19p.
Additional articles from scientific journals will also be included, approx. 400 pages.
Malmö University provides students who participate in, or who have completed a course, with the opportunity to express their opinions and describe their experiences of the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarise the results of course evaluations. The University will also inform participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures taken in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).
If a course is no longer offered, or has undergone significant changes, the students must be offered two opportunities for re-examination based on the syllabus that ap-plied at the time of registration, for a period of one year after the changes have been implemented.
If a student has a Learning support decision, the examiner has the right to provide the student with an adapted test, or to allow the student to take the exam in a different format.
The syllabus is a translation of a Swedish source text.