Managing aggression and violence: the clinician's role in contemporary mental health care

Stephen H Allnutt, James Robert Ogloff, Jonathon Adams, Colman O'Driscoll, Michael David Daffern, Andrew Carroll, Vindya Nanayakkara, David G Chaplow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


From time to time misconceptions about violence risk assessment raise debate about the role mental health professionals play in managing aggression, with associated concerns about the utility of violence risk assessment. This paper will address some of the misconceptions about risk assessment in those with serious mental illness. Methods: The authors have expertise as clinicians and researchers in the field and based on their accumulated knowledge and discussion they have reviewed the literature to form their opinions. results: This paper reflects the authors views. conclusion: There is a modest yet statistical and clinically significant association between certain types of mental illness and violence. Debate about the appropriateness of clinician involvement in violence risk assessment is sometimes based on a misunderstanding about the central issues and the degree to which this problem can be effectively managed. The central purpose of risk assessment is the prevention rather than the prediction of violence. Violence risk assessment is a process of identifying patients who are at greater risk of violence in order to facilitate the timing and prioritisation of preventative interventions. Clinicians should base these risk assessments on empirical knowledge and consideration of case-specific factors to inform appropriate management interventions to reduce the identified risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728 - 736
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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