Structured Assessment of Protective Factors for violence risk
Frequently Asked Questions

- Are protective factors the opposite of risk factors?

  • To some extent. Some protective factors operate on the same domain as a risk factor, for example the protective factor Self-control and the risk factor Impulsivity. However, although they seem opposites of the same construct, the descriptions of these items are not identical and the factors are not each other's exact reverse. Impulsivity does for example also include affective instability, whereas Self-control concerns predominantly the control one has over his or her urges or behaviors. Other protective factors do not have a risk factor in the same domain, for example the protective factors Medication, Leisure activities, Life goals, Intimate relationship and Professional care. These factors provide protection when they are present, but do not pose extra risk when they are not present. Most importantly, protective factors are valuable for clinical practice as they provide balance to risk assessment, offer positive treatment goals, facilitate treatment atonement and inspire treatment motivation in patients and staff. For more information on the additional value of protective factors see for example De Ruiter & Nicholls, 2011 or De Vries Robbé, 2014.

- What is the difference between the SAPROF and the START?

  • The SAPROF focuses exclusively on protective factors for violence risk and is intended to be used alongside well established risk focused tools for the medium-term (6-12 months) prediction of violence risk, like the HCR-20 (or HCR-20V3). Together with tools like the HCR-20/HCR-20V3 the SAPROF provides a well balanced thorough risk assessment procedure for violent and sexually violent offenders. It includes both protective factors which are to some degree the opposite of risk factors and protective factors which independently provide protection.
  • The START is a comprehensive assessment tool which includes both risk and strength ratings for all factors. It does not contain any historical factors. The START is intended for short-term assessments (2-3 months) and is especially valuable for the assessment of less stable patients, who need to be re-evaluated regularly. The tool is quick to administer.
  • Which tool is the most suitable for your specific population and situation all depends on the time frame you are looking at, the nature of your patient population and the demand for a quicker or more thorough assessment.

- How often should assessment with the SAPROF be repeated?

  • The SAPROF has the same general time frame as the HCR-20/HCR-20V3, assessments are valid for 6-12 months. However, when a patient's behavior changes quite dramatically, when an incident occurs or when the situation for which the previous assessment was carried out changes (for example when a patient gains increased liberties), a new assessment with the SAPROF and the HCR-20/HCR-20V3 (or related risk tool) should be carried out.

- Are the items in the SAPROF 2nd Edition the same as those in the SAPROF version 1?

- Can the SAPROF be used for adolescent offenders?

  • The SAPROF was developed for an adult population and is therfore not recommended to be used with juveniles. However, a SAPROF - Youth version has been developed specifically for use with juveniles and is now available, see SAPROF-YV.

- Can the SAPROF also be used for sexual offenders?

  • Yes, research results show the SAPROF protective factors also have good predictive validity for both violent recidivism and sexually violent recidivism of sexual offenders, see two chapters in the recently published PhD thesis on the validation of the SAPROF.

- Can the SAPROF be used in research?

  • Yes of course, we encourage the inclusion of the SAPROF in research studies and would be happy to hear about new findings.