Short Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START)

Facilitator: Dr Lorraine Johnstone (UK)


The Short Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START) was developed by Chris Webster and colleagues to provide a comprehensive evaluation of a range of client risks (i.e., violence, self-harm, suicide, absconding, substance use, self-neglect, and victimisation) and treatability. The START includes 20 items, covering a range of domains, which are assessed and coded according to item definitions and scoring guidelines. Case-specific risk factors are also assessed. START conforms to the structured clinical judgement approach to assessment but it is novel in its design in that the tool also requires the evaluator to consider and evaluate client strengths. The available information is used to guide case-management.

START can be used by a single assessor or by multi-disciplinary teams. The format allows for consistency and structure in assessment and facilitates communication about risks and risk factors. It was designed primarily with in-patient psychiatric and forensic units in mind but it also has applicability for clients in community services. Using a range of teaching modalities (didactic, interactive and practical case examples) this workshop will equip delegates with a knowledge base from which they can apply START in their own setting.

The goals of this workshop are to ensure that delegates are informed about (1) the purpose, format and design of START; (2) how to administer the START; and (3) how to use this information to produce individualised risk formulations and risk management plans. Delegates should have a good working knowledge and experience in the structured professional paradigm as this course will focus only on the use and content of START.