Violence Risk Assessment With the HCR-20V3 in Legal Contexts: A critical Reflection

Authors Vivienne de Vogel, Tamara L.F. de Beuf, Stephane Shepherd, Richard Schneider
Published in Journal of Personality Assessment
Publication date 2022
Research groups Working with Mandated Clients
Type Article


The HCR-20V3 is a violence risk assessment tool that is widely used in forensic clinical practice for risk management planning. The predictive value of the tool, when used in court for legal decisionmaking, is not yet intensively been studied and questions about legal admissibility may arise. This article aims to provide legal and mental health practitioners with an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the HCR-20V3 when applied in legal settings. The HCR-20V3 is described and discussed with respect to its psychometric properties for different groups and settings. Issues involving legal admissibility and potential biases when conducting violence risk assessments with the HCR-20V3 are outlined. To explore legal admissibility challenges with respect to the HCR-20V3, we searched case law databases since 2013 from Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. In total, we found 546 cases referring to the HCR-20/HCR-20V3. In these cases, the tool was rarely challenged (4.03%), and when challenged, it never resulted in a court decision that the risk assessment was inadmissible. Finally, we provide recommendations for legal practitioners for the cross-examination of risk assessments and recommendations for mental health professionals who conduct risk assessments and report to the court. We conclude with suggestions for future research with the HCR-20V3 to strengthen the evidence base for use of the instrument in legal contexts.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in Journal of Personality Assessment
Key words violence risk assessment, assessment tool

Vivienne de Vogel

Vivienne de Vogel | Professor | Working with Mandated Clients

Vivienne de Vogel

  • Professor
  • Research group: Working with Mandated Clients