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The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide – Revised (VRAG-R): Application to European offenders

Brian Judd & L. Maaike Helmus

Participants in this workshop will learn the history of actuarial assessment techniques, development, scoring, and interpretation of the VRAG-R, applicability of the VRAG-R to assessment of risk in sexual offenders, strategies to communicate risk information to triers of fact, and recent research examining VRAG-R’s applicability to European sex offenders. Not only will this workshop focus on the theory underlying actuarial risk assessment, but attendees will receive extensive hands-on practice with case samples and receive certification for use following attendance at the workshop and successful completion of 2 test cases. 

 

Part 1: 9:30am to 1pm

This workshop provides a basic overview and background of the development of the VRAG-R and its empirical support. It does not include a training in how to score the scale.

Part 2: 2pm-5pm

This second part of the workshop includes training on how to score the individual items of the VRAG-R. Participants wishing to be able to use the scale are expected to attend the full day workshop (Part 1 and 2). Attending Part 2 would mean missing the opening ceremony of the conference and keynotes. 

 

Workshop Learning Objectives:

Participants in this workshop will learn how to score and interpret the VRAG-R. We will discuss the applicability of the VRAG-R to assessment of risk in sex offenders, effective risk communication techniques, and recommendations regarding release conditions based on the risk assessment. Participants will also learn prorating techniques and adjustment of risk estimates based upon time at liberty in the community. Recent cross-validation studies conducted in Europe and Canada with independent samples of sex offenders will also be discussed. 

Learning Objectives: 

1)  Scoring and interpreting the VRAG-R. 


2)  Prorating the VRAG-R and adjustment of risk estimates based upon 
time at liberty in the community 


3)  Applicability of the VRAG-R to assessment of sex offenders. 


4)  Effective risk communication strategies. 


5)  Use of the VRAG-R for establishing release conditions. 


6)  Review of recent cross validation studies conducted in Europe and Canada. 


 

Dr. Judd graduated in 1989 with his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Judd specialized in and published in the area of neuropsychology throughout his graduate career and during the early years of his professional career, then began private practice with an emphasis on the application of neuropsychology in forensic settings. Since 1993, Dr. Judd's practice has predominantly focused on risk assessment and treatment of sex offenders, and the evaluation of both high-risk violent offenders and those adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity. He has given multiple presentations to professional organizations on the application of actuarial assessment techniques in assessing risk for future violence and has extensive experience testifying in court.  Dr. Judd is an ATSA member, a former board member of the Washington Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (WATSA) and a state certified sex offender treatment provider. At the present time approximately 60% of his clinical practice is devoted to the assessment and treatment of high risk sexual offenders. He currently practices and resides in Olympia, WA. 

L. Maaike Helmus is a consultant with the Forensic Assessment Group (Ottawa, Canada) and an adjunct research professor at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. Her research has focused on offender risk assessment, particularly regarding risk scale development and validation, and risk assessment for subgroups such as sex offenders, violent offenders, domestic violence offenders, and Indigenous offenders. She is part of the development team for Static-99R, Static-2002R, BARR-2002R, STABLE-2007, ACUTE-2007, VRAG-R, CPORT, and the Risk of Administrative Segregation Tool (RAST), as well as being a certified trainer for Static-99R, Static-2002R, BARR-2002R, and the VRAG-R. Winner of the prestigious Governor General’s Gold Medal for her work in risk assessment, Dr. Helmus has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from organizations including the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.