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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Assessment and management of risk to others

Risk formulation

Risk formulation is based on the above factors and all other items of history and mental state. It should take into account that risk is dynamic and, where possible, specify factors likely to increase the risk of dangerousness or those likely to mitigate violence, as well as signs that indicate increasing risk.

Risk formulation brings together an understanding of personality, history, mental state, environment, potential causes and protective factors, or changes in any of these. It should aim to answer the following questions.

  • How serious is the risk?

  • How immediate is the risk?

  • Is the risk specific or general?

  • How volatile is the risk?

  • What are the signs of increasing risk?

  • Which specific treatment, and which management plan, can best reduce the risk?





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Patient Safety Expert Guidance Working Group
Professor John Morgan (chair)
Dr Claire Flannigan
Dr Safi Afghan
Dr Daniel Beales
Dr Dallas Brodie
Dr Alys Cole-King
Dr David Hall
Dr Andrew Hill-Smith
Dr Soraya Mayet
Dr Philip McGarry
Mrs Julia Mills
Dr Caryl Morgan
Dr Huw Stone
Dr Dumindu Witharana
Mr Chris Wright