Methodology instrument

The VERA-2R uses a rigorous and structured professional judgment (SPJ) methodology to provide information about the nature of and severity of violent extremist actions of an individual.

The SPJ approach is a combination of empirical knowledge and professional judgment (Hart & Logan, 2011; Douglas et al., 2013).

The evaluator identifies a risk level by considering in a structured manner a defined set of relevant risk factors using an evidence base and a pre-established rating system. The evaluator considers both the presence and relevance of risk factors for the individuals being assessed (Logan, 2014).

As nuanced as possible, the risk analysis, subsequent risk formulation and risk assessment provides an explanation as to the considered nature and extent of the action based on the information and evidence available. It leads to a broader review of the individual and it leads to a person-centred approach; different risk scenarios can be considered and risk management planning for each of these scenarios may be undertaken in the risk report (Hart & Logan, 2011; Logan, 2014; Douglas et al., 2013; Douglas et al., 2014; Guy, Douglas, & Hart, 2015; Logan, 2017).

The SPJ approach is the most appropriate methodology for risk assessment and risk management of violent extremists. It offers the best potential for evidence-based, proportionate, transparent, and accountable practice (Pressman, 2009, Monahan, 2012; Borum, 2015; Sarma, 2017; Logan, 2017).

The VERA-2R helps the professional to structure and weigh the relevant information, and clarifies what needs to be investigated and obtained from other sources. Training programmes and peer consulting with consensus methods are essential.

The SPJ approach can be applied at the clinical level by psychologists, psychiatrists and other behavioural scientists, and it can also be used by professional analysts at national security, intelligence and national police agencies where risk assessment of identified persons is required (Pressman & Flockton, 2012; Pressman, Duits, Rinne & Flockton, 2018; Pressman & Duits, 2019).