Past Meetup

Dr Jennifer Murray - Predictably Unpredictable

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Skeptics On the Fringe presents:
Dr Jennifer Murray, Lecturer in Mental Health, Chartered Psychologist, Edinburgh Napier University - Predictably Unpredictable: Violence Risk Assessment

Violence risk assessment is a complex task which has been hotly debated in the literature and in the media when things ‘go wrong’. It is a task which simply cannot be an exact science; clinicians and practitioners cannot possibly be expected to know or be able to predict what a person’s actions or circumstances in the future may lead to. They then have to be able to use their expertise and judgement, and a solid evidence base, to forecast what may happen – is a person likely to harm others or themselves in the future, and under what circumstances? In the literature there have been three ‘eras’ of violence risk assessment:
1) clinicians using their judgement unaided and largely unrecorded;
2) a movement to remove the clinician from the assessment, to ‘predict’ risk using actuarial scales; and
3) more recently using an evidence based clinical assessment.
This talk will discuss the pros and cons of these eras of risk assessment and will argue that we should no longer seek to predict risk of violence, as it is not a meaningful metric.

Jennifer Murray is an Associate Fellow of and Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society. She is an active researcher in the areas of forensic psychology and applied health research, with an overarching theme of decision science pulling these two areas together. She is passionate about developing useful, theoretically sound interventions and outputs from my research and collaborates across multidisciplinary teams, also working closely with and involving patient groups, clinicians/practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to make her research as applicable to ‘real practice’ as possible. In her forensic psychology work, her main research interests lie in clinician decision making in risk assessment (violence, suicide and policy). In her applied health research, she has worked in person-centered care, outcome measurement, and intervention development using novel techniques. The key focus is on developing clinically useful research which can be translated to or adopted into day to day practice.
Twitter - @jenM_Research

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