RMA Newsletter: January 2021

    9 February 2021, Mailing List

    2021 promises to be an interesting year at the RMA with lots of long term projects going live - have a read about some below.

    Key Areas of Work for 2021

    OLR Research

    We’re currently populating an extensive dataset for the OLR population.  This is specifically looking at the offending profiles of those given an OLR and is derived from information in the risk assessment report used in Court.  This will allow us to consider the index and previous offending of the population across areas like violence, sexual violence and intimate partner violence.  We hope to have the publication ready around June – July 2021.


    Work is underway reviewing the scheme of accreditation for high court risk assessors to ensure a robust and streamlined approach to accreditation. We recently welcomed Kat Mansi to the team, with us until end of March – her focus is on re-developing the accreditation scheme with a view to re-opening the list to new applicants later this year. The project includes development of a policy providing guidance on renewal for existing assessors, ongoing quality assurance of Risk Assessment Reports and withdrawal of accreditation.

    Scoping of Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

    Work to review the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 to identify the impact to individuals subject to OLR and related functions of the RMA is ongoing. Key areas include: a rapid review of risk assessment tools and risk factors relevant to terrorism, a rapid review of risk management approaches relevant to terrorism and radicalisation, and engaging with colleagues responsible for Counter Terrorism Policy. We will seek to identify the impact to risk management processes for both those who have been convicted of a terrorism offence, and those assessed as presenting a terrorism risk.

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    Lesley Weber

    RMA News

    Lesley Weber Appointed to Scottish Sentencing Council

    “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to bring my experience of working with victims and survivors to the Scottish Sentencing Council, supporting in the development of sentencing guidelines and policy.”

    Lesley is a qualified social worker, who spent the last 13 years in London specialising in domestic abuse, the wider violence against women and girls (VAWG) agenda, and public protection, before joining the RMA team as our Head of Effective Practice. We are thrilled to announce Scottish Ministers, in consultation with the Lord Justice General, have appointed Lesley as the new Victims Expert member of the Scottish Sentencing Council.

    Guest Blogs:

    Our newly launched blogging platform is a space to express opinions and explore thoughts from the RMA team and guest bloggers – we’re thrilled to have launched with two esteemed guests, Carole Murphy and Dr Ruth Tully, exploring tools in RATED. If you have a comment or have a topic in mind you’d like to write about, get in touch with the team: communications@rma.gov.scot

    Carole Murphy, Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice

    “One of the benefits of START:AV over other tools is that it recognises reassessment should occur frequently (every 3 months) because of the rapid rate of changes that occur during adolescence and in their circumstances.”

    The first in our new blog series taking a closer look at some of the tools evaluated in RATED (Risk Assessment Tools Evaluation Directory), Carole Murphy, Practice Development Advisor at the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ), writes us a guest blog to tell us more about best practice in risk assessment for children and young people, and the implementation of START:AV in Scotland.

    Dr Ruth Tully, Consultant Forensic Psychologist

    “In practice, training is really important for SPJ tools. This is because there is some subjectivity to some items and it is crucial that items are coded as much as possible in line with the tool’s manual, due to this being how the tools were developed and therefore validated and researched.”

    The second in our new blog series, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Ruth Tully explores some of the similarities and differences between popular structured professional judgment (SPJ) risk assessment tools often used in clinical forensic practice to assess violence risk. Ruth uses these tools day in, day out, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to share some knowledge and experience with us.

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