Phil, C. & Lloyd, M.-2018
The task of assessing and managing risk of violence has evolved considerably in the last 25 years, and the field of violent extremism has the potential to stand on the shoulders of the giants of that time. From static measures of near lifetime risk of generic harmful behaviour (e.g., violence of any kind) in the 1990s and 2000s (e.g., Quinsey, Harris, Rice & Cormier, 1998), correctional and forensic mental health services now benefit from evidence-based procedures that support real-time information gathering, formulation development, and constantly modified risk management, all towards the limitation if not the prevention of harmful outcomes (e.g., Douglas, Hart, Webster & Belfrage, 2013; Roesch & Cook, 2017). The objective of the present paper is to identify good practice in the risk field in general and to apply that to the specific area of risk in relation to violent extremism – in order that developments here accord to highest standards of practice achieved so far elsewhere. The paper begins by addressing the essential requirement to define the task of the assessment and management of the risk of violent extremism – what is its purpose, what are its parameters, who are its practitioners, in what contexts must this activity be delivered, and how might any such context both facilitate and hinder the objectives of the task? Next, there is a requirement to map the terrain – what
guidance is already available that can assist practitioners in their work to understand and manage the risk of violent extremism, and by what standards may we judge the quality of this and future guidance in the contexts in which is it applied? Finally, there is a need to develop the field in terms of the empirical basis upon which the risks presented by individuals and the organisations to which they may belong or affiliate are assessed, understood, and managed – but how best might the field of violent extremism risk be so developed? Guidance is proposed in relation to each of these three areas of concern with a view to supporting the rapid and credible advancement of this growing and vital area of endeavour .