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Violence Risk and Threat Assessment

            Violence and sexual violence continue to be major criminal, public health and social policy problems in the United States. Those who have responsibility for assessing the violence risk of others are in a difficult position: Can the risk of future violence be predicted? What assessment tools should be used? What is the difference between actuarial instruments, structured professional judgment instruments and threat assessment? What are the relative contributions of drugs, psychopathy and psychosis to violence risk? What are the differences between affective (reactive) violence and predatory (instrumental) violence? Does targeted violence, especially toward public figures, need a different approach? Are there any psychological tests that are useful in assessing certain aspects of violence risk, such as impulsivity or affect dysregulation?

In the first major reconfiguration of his highly successful violence risk workshops over the past two decades, Dr. Meloy will present a comprehensive, state of the science, two day training program on violence risk and threat assessment. He will review the new assessment instruments and expand his teaching concerning psychopathy, one of the most important violence risk predictors. Stalking and its relationship to violence and the latest research on direct threats, leakage and warning behaviors will be thoroughly examined. The workshop will conclude with the most effective means of communicating risk to others.

Workshop Content - Day 1

Affective (reactive) and Predatory (instrumental) modes of violence

The Ipsi Dixit approach – an approach whose time has gone

The Actuarial approach – the VRAG, COVR

The Structured Professional Judgment approach – the HCR-20, WAVR-21

Other Psychological Instruments – PCL-R, PCL-SV, PCL-YV, PSCAN, LSI-R

Threat Assessment and Targeted Violence – Real time threat management

Case Illustrations


            History and measurement

            Factor I – Interpersonal and Affective deficiency

Workshop Content - Day 2

Psychopathy (cont.)

            Factor II – Social Deviancy

Validity research: Treatment, recidivism and violence risk

Neurobiological Advancements

            Predatory acuity and the paradox of sensitivity to others’ distress

Treatment and Risk Management

DSM-IV-TR, DSM-V, and TPD (4th edition)

Stalking: The State of the Science

            Prior sexual intimate stalking and violence

            Public figure stalking, threats and attacks

Communicating Risk – Legal and Ethical Parameters

Report Writing (The Meloy Method)

Workshop Objectives

List the psychological, sociological and biological antecedents of violence
Identify the different violence risk and threat assessment approaches

Describe the differences between affective and predatory violence

List the instruments which measure psychopathy

Identify childhood and adolescent factors related to violence and psychopathy

Describe the dynamics and risk management implications concerning stalking

Assess direct threats, leakage and warning behaviors
Describe how threat assessment and threat management differ from typical police work

Communicate risk findings to other professionals in a scientific, legal and ethical manner

Presented by

Reid Meloy, PhD, ABPP
Reid Meloy, PhD, ABPPDr. Meloy is a board-certified forensic psychologist (ABPP) who consults on criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and a faculty member of the San Diego Psychoanalytic Center. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is past president of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. He has received a number of awards and honors, including the first National Achievement Award in 1998 from the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. He was the Yochelson Visiting Scholar at Yale University in March, 2015, and Visiting Scholar at the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich—originally the Burgholzli Clinic--in May, 2018. Dr. Meloy has authored or co-authored over two hundred fifty papers published in peer-reviewed psychiatric and psychological journals, and has authored, co-authored or edited thirteen books. He has been consulting, researching and writing about personality disorder, psychopathy, stalking, narcissism, criminality, mental disorder, and targeted violence for the past thirty years. His first book, The Psychopathic Mind (Aronson, 1988), was an integration of the biological and psychodynamic understanding of psychopathy. His co-edited book with Drs. Hoffmann and Sheridan, Stalking, Threatening and Attacking Public Figures (Oxford University Press, 2008), led to a commissioned study for the National Academy of Sciences on threats toward public figures published in 2011 (www.nap.edu). The first edition of the International Handbook of Threat Assessment was published in 2014, and the second edition in 2021 (Oxford University Press). Dr. Stephen White and he created the WAVR-21 V3 (www.wavr21.com), a structured professional judgment instrument for targeted workplace and campus violence. Dr. Meloy has been a consultant to the Behavioral Analysis Units, FBI, Quantico, for the past twenty years, and is the originator and developer of the TRAP-18 (Terrorist Radicalization Assessment Protocol, mhs.com). He was a member of the Fixated Research Group for the United Kingdom’s Home Office concerning threats to the Royal Family and British political figures, and is a consulting member of Work Trauma Services, Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, and Team Psychology and Security in Darmstadt, Germany. He was also a founding associate editor of the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management.