Violence risk assessment of Sovereign Citizens: An exploratory examination of the HCR-20 Version 3 and the TRAP-18
Sovereign Citizens comprise an understudied right-wing extremist movement in the United States who have grown in notoriety in recent years due to several high- profile instances of violence. Despite this, little empirical research has been conducted on Sovereign Citizens, including research on assessing their risk for violence. In this study, we sought to replicate and extend a prior study on Sovereign Citizen violence. Using open-source data, we added several new cases to a pre-existing dataset of violent and non-violent Sovereign Citizen incidents, yielding a total sample of 107 cases. We scored each case using the HCR-20V3 and TRAP-18 risk assessment tools. Our findings indicated that higher scores on both instruments were significantly associated with greater odds of cases being violent. We also observed that several risk factors occurred with significantly more frequency among violent cases than non-violent ones. Implications for future research and professional practice are discussed.
Behavioral Science and the Law
© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Vargen, L., & Challacombe, D.J. (In press). Violence risk assessment of Sovereign Citizens: An exploratory examination of the HCR-20 Version 3 and the TRAP-18. Behavioral Sciences & The Law. doi:10.1002/bsl.2607
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