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Risk Assessment and Management

The assessment and management of risk of re-offending and risk of harm is a key responsibility for the Criminal & Youth Justice Service. On this web-page, we discuss what risk is, how it is measured, and how organisations work together to reduce risk for individuals and communities.

What do we mean by 'risk'?

The Criminal & Youth Justice Service has to assess various areas of risk:

  • Risk of Re-offending (both in general and specific types of offending
  • Risk of Harm (behaviour that is likely to prove directly harmful to another person). This includes emotional harm as well as physical harm.

How do we assess risk?

Assessment of risk is carried out by staff using both professional judgement and experience and the application of various tools, some of which have been accredited by the Risk Management Authority.

Risk Assessment is carried out by looking at patterns of behaviour (not just offending) and at aspects of an individual's lifestyle that may increase the risk of them re-offending. The Scottish Government and West Lothian Council share a concern to improve public safety, and accurate risk assessment allows us to focus services on the people who most need to change aspects of their behaviour.

Some of these tools are for general use. The most recent of these, the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) measures both general risk of re-offending and risk of harmful behaviour. It is considered an accurate statistical predictor of future offending, but any individual can of course reduce that risk by making changes in their behaviour.

Other assessment tools are used for specific types of harmful behaviour.

What about sex offenders?

Sex offenders come into the group of people for whom a specialist risk assessment tool is used to assess their particular type of offending.

What do we use these assessments for?

Assessment of risk and needs is important in the work of the C&YJS, to make sure we offer the best support to individuals to reduce their re-offending and their risk of harmful behaviour.

We will also use this information in discussion of child or adult protection issues.

Risk Management

We work in partnership with Police Scotland and other agencies to manage the risk posed by some individuals in the community. Our risk management processes require partner organisations to consider a shared assessment of risk in each case, and to have a clear understanding of what are the responsibilities of each organisation.

The current arrangements include: