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Why Assess Risk ? 

Social Care Professionals, Health Professionals and Law Enforcement Officers are constantly charged with the formidably difficult task of undertaking a risk assessment. 
 
Why do we do them? 
Effective and good quality risk assessment offers the following benefits: 
Accurate risk assessment makes the best use of scarce resources and enhances public safety. 
• Accurate risk assessment is crucial to appropriate intervention planning. 
• Accurate risk assessment allows practitioners to “more often” intervene before an incident of relapsing into problematic Behaviour patterns. 
• Evidence-based practice is “defendable” and “transparent” when things go wrong. 
• Risk assessment provides a common vocabulary of risk that improves communication and knowledge transfer, reduces misunderstandings and mistakes. 

Risk Assessment  and  Management 

Welcome to the Risk Assessment and Management Knowledge Bank. The information on this page supports our range of risk assessment training programmes. 

Definition of Risk 

A risk is a hazard that is not completely understood and therefore can only be forecast with uncertainty. Identifying a risk incorporates notions of nature, severity, frequency, imminence and likelihood – not just probability of harm 
Risk is context specific. It is never known but estimated 
(Hart, et al., 2003) 

Definition of Assessment 

Assessment is the process of gathering information for use in making decisions. The methods of assessment include interviews, self report tests and questionnaires, review of case records and contact with other informants such as other professionals, family and associates of the person who is the subject of the assessment. 
 

Definition of Harm 

Where the question of whether there is a risk that will be suffered by a child turns to the child’s health and development, his health or development is compared with that which could reasonably be expected of a similar child. 
‘Harm’ means ill treatment or the impairment of health or development (including for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another). 
‘Development’ means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. 
‘Health’ means physical or mental health; and 
‘Ill-treatment’ includes sexual abuse and all forms of ill treatment which is not physical. (HMSO, 2004) 

Definition of Risk Management 

Risk management involves developing one or more flexible strategies aimed at preventing the harmful event from occurring or, if this is not possible, minimising the harmcaused. Risk management must include a set of action plans, the allocation of each aspect of the plan to identified parties and a date to review. 

What is Meant by "Risk Factors, Risk Management, Safeguarding and Resilience?" 

A risk factor is a personal characteristic or circumstance that is linked to a negative event that either causes or facilitates the event to occur and can be categorised thus: 
Static Risk Factors: These are unchangeable in that they cannot be influenced by new circumstances or interventions. They are mostly historic e.g. history of violence, previous experiences of abuse, age etc. 
Dynamic Risk Factors: These change over time and can be aspects of the individual or their environment and social context such as parenting or social deprivation. Because they are changeable, these factors are more amenable to management. 
The dynamic risk factors that are quite stable and change slowly are often referred to as Stable or Chronic Risk Factors. Those that change rapidly are known as Acute Dynamic Risk Factors or “Triggers” (Department of Health, 2007). Because these factors change rapidly, their influence on risk may be short lived but require a rapid response (Hart, et al., 2003). 
The assessment of risk is the process of gathering information about people in order to make decisions regarding their risk of being victimised or perpetrators of abuse. That information needs to come from a variety of sources including perpetrator, victims, collateral sources such as friends and family, other service providers and records and reports 

Risk Management and Safeguarding. 

Risk Assessment identifies the circumstances in which neglect and abuse are most likely to occur and informs strategies to deal with the most relevant triggers. 
A Risk Management Plan includes an awareness of the potential for changes in the level of risk over time, requiring an emphasis on the dynamic risk factors. (Department of Health, 2007) 
It is vital to understand that perpetrator behaviour (victim selection, victim access patterns, use of physical and psychological coercion and control, and opportunities to offend) will exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities and influence children and young people’s behaviour, disclosure patterns and ongoing protection needs. This has significant implications then for investigation and intervention. 
Click HERE to dowmload 10 Tips for Choosing the right Risk Assessment Protocol 

Resilience on the other hand... 

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from adversity; an associated term might be the ability to “Bounce Back”. It comes from the strengths of an individual and of their family as well as the strength of the community and culture in which they live (Glover, 2009) 

Goals of Risk Assessment: 

Prevent Harm 
Identify potentially useful interventions 
Enhance Professional Accountability 
Improve consistency of decisions 
Improve transparency of decisions 
Protect clients’ rights 
Protect professionals 
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