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Liverpool Violence Assessment: An Investigator-based Measure of Serious Violence

NCJ Number
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: 2003 Pages: 106-120
Rajan Nathan; Lynn Rollinson; Katie Harvey; Jonathan Hill
Date Published
15 pages
This study used the Liverpool Violence Assessment (LiVA) -- an investigator-based standardized interview designed to assess patterns of violence over time and individual violent acts -- with a sample of inmates convicted of serious violent offenses to determine inter-rater reliability and the relationship between violence as measured by the LiVA and official records of offending, antisocial personality disorder, and alcohol and drug dependence.
The LiVA interview uses a flexible style to obtain descriptions of behavior. Subjects are asked about their functioning in social and interpersonal domains, so as to elicit accounts of violence. If initial questioning does not elicit a history of violence, subjects are asked more specific questions about violence. The interviewer continues questioning the subject until sufficient information is obtained to rate the LiVA scales. A total of 61 male inmates who had been sentenced for serious violent crimes were interviewed with the use of the LiVA, and they were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for the purpose of measuring DSM IV antisocial personality disorder and alcohol and drug dependence. Official records of offending were also examined. The study found that the inter-rater reliability for the LiVA was high; and there were significant correlations between histories of violence as elicited by the LiVA and official records; however, the frequency of self-reported violence was much higher than was indicated in the official records. Antisocial personality disorder was associated with increased violence, but analyses showed marked variability in the levels of violence among those with antisocial personality disorder, as well as contrasting patterns of association of violence with antisocial personality disorder depending on the context. There were high levels of alcohol dependence (45 percent) and drug dependence (30 percent) in the sample; however, there were no significant associations between substance dependence and level of violence assessed by the LiVA. The study concluded that the LiVA is a reliable and valid measure of the patterns and characteristics of violence. The findings indicate that violence causes should be analyzed in their own right and not only as a feature of antisocial personality disorder. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 41 references


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