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An Introduction to the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide - Revised (VRAG-R): Development and Subsequent Cross-Validation on European, Canadian, and Other Samples

Brian Judd & L. Maaike Helmus

 

Following its publication in 2015, the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide – Revised (VRAG-R) has been cross-validated on multiple samples of treated and untreated European and Canadian adult male offenders, and older juveniles. To date, cross-validation of the VRAG-R has generally demonstrated large effect sizes for the prediction of violent and general recidivism and moderate effect sizes for the prediction of sexual recidivism. Additional developments include the publication of risk ratios for 5-year recidivism rates (Davies, Helmus, & Quinsey, 2020) and translation of the VRAG-R into German, Dutch and French. This workshop will summarize recent developments with the VRAG-R including the cross-validation research, application to various populations, and the utility of risk-ratios in communicating relative-risk to triers of fact. This workshop will also serve as a foundation for formal training on administration of the VRAG-R should attendees wish to begin utilizing the VRAG-R for clinical or research purposes.

 

Dr. Judd graduated in 1989 with his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Judd specialized in neuropsychology and conducted research on regional cerebral blood flow and electrophysiology throughout his graduate career and during the early years of his professional career. He began private practice in 1992 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 people who have offended sexually, as well as 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 a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO) and is a state Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider (CSOTP) in Washington State. At the present time, approximately 70% of his clinical practice is devoted to the assessment and treatment of people who are at high-risk for violent and/or sexual recidivism. Since 2015, Dr. Judd has been co-training clinicians and researchers on the use and application of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide – Revised (VRAG-R) and is a member of the VRAG-R Development Committee.  He currently practices and resides in Olympia, WA. 

 

Maaike Helmus is an Assistant Professor in Criminology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She is also the Vice-President (Research) for the non-profit organization SAARNA (the Society for the Advancement of Actuarial Risk Needs Assessment). Her research has focused on offender risk assessment, particularly regarding risk scale development and validation (including subgroups such as sex offenders, intimate partner violence offenders, and Indigenous offenders), risk communication, and biases in decision-making. 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). Dr. Helmus also has a particular interest in meta-analysis and statistical approaches to prediction. She is currently co-editor of the journal Sexual Offending Theory, Research, and Prevention and on the editorial board of Sexual Abuse. A former Banting postdoc scholar, she is also the winner of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, the Saleem Sham Early Career Award from the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, and the Early Career Research Award from the Association for the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse.