Year: 2022 Source: BJPsych Advances. (2022). 1-11. DOI: SIEC No: 20221046

Risk assessment in clinical practice is often characterised as a process of analysing information so as to make a judgement about the likelihood of harmful behaviour occurring in the future. However, this characterisation is brought into question when the evidence does not support the current use of risk assessment approaches to predict, or provide probability estimates of, future behaviour in a way that is usable in single instances arising in individual cases. This article sets out a broader and more clinically applicable description of risk assessment which takes account of the wider influences on how this clinical activity takes place. In so doing, it provides a framework to guide clinicians, researchers and authors of practice guidance who are interested in improving approaches to risk assessment.