RISK ASSESSMENT REPORTS (RARs)
Accredited Assessors are required to work in accordance with the RMA's Standards and Guidelines for Risk Assessment when producing risk assessment reports regarding offenders subject to a Risk Assessment Order or Interim Compulsion Order. The RAR should constitute a holistic and thorough evaluation of the risk associated with the offender in question. This report will assist the Court in determining whether an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) is appropriate in a given case.
The RAR will also assist those responsible for the care and management of offenders sentenced with an OLR, by providing recommendations for risk management.
The standards (see excerpt below) are set out as a backbone of mandatory steps and the guidelines incorporate advisory notes to assist the assessor in conducting a robust assessment. There is also a standardised RMA approved structure for the risk assessment report itself and detailed guidelines regarding its use. The structure emphasises the need for the report to have clarity and fitness for purpose.
STANDARDS FOR RISK ASSESSMENT
1. DOCUMENT REVIEW
The Accredited Assessor must review a range of relevant documents concerning the offender's social, criminal and medical context in order to inform their assessment. (See SECTION 3 of the Guidelines)
2. PROFESSIONAL JUDGEMENT
The Accredited Assessor must use a structured professional judgement approach in forming their assessment. The assessor must use at least one risk assessment tool. Where only one tool is used, this should be a structured professional judgement tool approved by the RMA. Where actuarial tools are used in addition to a standard professional judgement tool, assessors must use or reference RMA-approved actuarial tools. (See RMA Risk Assessment Tools Evaluation
Directory – RATED)
3. OFFENDER CONTACT
The Accredited Assessor should aim to have a minimum of six hours, face-to-face contact with the offender (see Guidelines for exceptions). The six hours does not include the offender feedback session. The contact should take place on at least three occasions and span several weeks. The Accredited Assessor must conduct a feedback session with the offender and have regard to the guidelines contained in this document. (See SECTION 5 of the Guidelines)
4. MULTI-DISCIPLINARY WORKING
The Accredited Assessor must use a multi-disciplinary approach in the collection of information and the formulation of considerations when undertaking the risk assessment. This will usually involve facilitating a meeting of a range of professionals from varying disciplines as part of the assessment process. At a later stage, the Accredited Assessor should also verify with attendees that the report accurately represents the information they provided to the Assessor.
(See SECTION 7 of the Guidelines)
5. REPORT STRUCTURE
The Accredited Assessor must submit the Risk Assessment Report, in relation to a Risk Assessment Order to the High Court, in the RMA Risk Assessment Report Structure. (See SECTIONS 8 & 9 of the Guidelines)