Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide

P. Randall Kropp, Ph.D.
Stephen D. Hart, Ph.D.
Christopher D. Webster, Ph.D.
Derek Eaves, M.B.

Technical Information

Norms were established using two groups of adult male offenders (N = 2,309). The first group (probationers), comprised 1,671 men from three subsamples. The second group (inmates), comprised 638 men serving aggregate custodial sentences of 2 years or longer for various offenses, most often robbery. Further description of the normative sample is presented in the SARA User’s Manual.

Reliability and Validity
The structural reliability of the SARA was evaluated according to Classical Test Theory indexes, including corrected item-total correlations for individual items, and internal consistency and item homogeneity correlations for composite scores. Interrater data were based solely on an interview, a review of case-history information, and the Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV) results. Three separate studies were conducted to examine the criterion validity of SARA ratings. In the first study, using a known-groups strategy, SARA ratings of inmates with a known history of spousal assault were compared to those of inmates at the same institutions who had no known history of spousal assault. Results showed that there were statistically significant differences between inmates with and without a history of spousal assault on all 20 SARA items. In the second study, the concurrent validity of the SARA ratings was analyzed against rating/scores on the PCL:SV, the General Statistical Information on Recidivism Scale (GSIR), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG). Results showed that the PCL:SV had moderate to high correlations with all SARA items. The GSIR and VRAG had a more complex pattern of results, but which support the convergent and discriminant validity of the SARA. The third study examined the ability of the SARA to discriminate between men who did or did not recidivate following referrals to a group treatment program for spousal assaulters. Results demonstrated that recidivistic and non-recidivistic spousal assaulters did not differ with respect to demographic characteristics or assault history.
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About the Author

P. Randall Kropp, Ph.D.
Dr. Kropp is a clinical and forensic psychologist, he specializes in the assessment and management of violent offenders. He works for the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission of British Columbia, is a research consultant at the British Columbia Institute Against Family Violence, and is Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. He has conducted more than 100 training workshops for mental health professionals, police officers, and corrections staff throughout North America. This training focused on risk for violence, psycho-legal assessments (including psychopathy), and criminal harassment (stalking). He has frequently consulted with provincial, state, and federal government ministries on matters related to violence against women and children, and the assessment and treatment of violent offenders.

Stephen D. Hart, Ph.D.
Dr. Hart is Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. His primary teaching and research interest is clinical-forensic psychology. Much of his work has focused on the assessment of psychopathic personality disorder and on the assessment of risk for violence, including spousal assault, sexual assault, and stalking. Dr. Hart consults with and conducts training for forensic mental health and criminal justice professionals throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Christopher D. Webster, Ph.D.
Dr. Webster is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is also a well-published research and training consultant. From 1993 to 1997 he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Most of his earlier professional career was spent at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, Ontario, Canada where he held a variety of research and administrative positions and at the University of Toronto where he was Professor of Psychology and Criminology. He is known mainly for his work on the prediction of violence in mentally disordered patients and prisoners. In recent years, he has published a number of practical manuals for use by mental health and correctional practitioners.

Derek Eaves, M.B.
Dr. Eaves is Executive Commissioner, Clinical Services, of the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission of British Columbia, Canada. He is a Clinical Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, and Adjunct Professor of both Psychology and Criminology at Simon Fraser University. He is interested in risk assessment as it applies to spousal assault, mentally disordered offenders, and other dangerous offenders.
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P. Randall Kropp, Ph.D.,
Stephen D. Hart, Ph.D.,
Christopher D. Webster, Ph.D.,
& Derek Eaves, M.B.

Age Range Males 18 years and older

Administration Time 60-90 minutes

Administration Type Clinician-administered

Qualification Level B


  • Handscored


PCL–R 2nd Ed.