RMA duties include responsibilities that support the Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) sentence. This includes the accreditation of experienced risk assessors to complete complex risk assessments for the High Court.
Accredited Assessors play a vital role in contributing to robust and defensible decision making in Scotland’s criminal justice system, protecting public safety.
Before imposing an OLR, a Judge in the High Court will formally request a Risk Assessment Report (RAR) by making a Risk Assessment Order (RAO). Only RMA Accredited Assessors can complete this assessment.
Accredited Assessors will prepare the RAR by conducting interviews with the subject of the report, professionals and relevant others. Assessors are required to have regard to RMA Standards and Guidelines. The completed report will include the Assessors’ informed professional opinion on whether the individual presents a high, medium or low risk to public safety. This supports the sentencing Judge in making a decision as to whether an individual should be subject to an OLR.
“Since training as a clinical psychologist and inspired by an adult forensic placement that included prison work, I wanted to make a real impact on people who offend, their victims and broader public safety. Much of my career also involved child and adolescent forensic mental health with an interest in developmental trajectories.
The accredited risk assessor is an incredible and unique role, allowing me to combine these child development and forensic adult risk interests. It’s the most valuable work that I do in terms of public safety.”
– Dr John Marshall (Accredited Assessor)
“I have been an accredited assessor with the RMA since 2009. I find the work to be incredibly rewarding. It is very labour intensive, but clinically, I am able to get immersed in a case and to use my clinical skills to develop a shared understanding of what has led to an individual’s difficulties and their engagement in risk behaviour. Sometimes this is the first time an individual has had the opportunity to talk about what has happened. It provides an opportunity for many to start accessing help and support.
It is a piece of clinical work that I know is of significant value and important, to both the legal system, the public and the individual being assessed. The work is hugely rewarding.”
– Dr Heather Laithwaite (Accredited Assessor)
The RMA also accredits manners of risk assessment and risk management to support best practice. Click the link below to download Accredited Manner No.004, a summary of the evidence-based and structured practice process that is outlined in RMA Standards and Guidelines.
Organisations and individuals may apply to have a manner of risk assessment or minimisation accredited by the RMA. Such manners may be for purposes other than those associated with the Risk Assessment Order or the Order for Lifelong Restriction. The application form is available here.
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