Speaking Point: What really happened before Charlie Sheen was arrested when his wife Brittany called 911? Was the 911 call inevitable? Could anyone have predicted that this situation would occur? Dangerous behavior whether in a domestic situation or in a criminal act is hard to predict. But there are some things to consider to make such an event less likely.
Dr. Sheila Forman is both a clinical psychologist and attorney who comments on the psychological and legal issues affecting our society today. She is the author of several self-help books, a radio host, and is on the faculty of Loyola Marymount University.
Speaking Point: Dangerous Behavior is difficult to assess and predict but it can be prevented with appropriate intervention such as confinement (voluntary and involuntary), treatment, and medication.
Speaking Point: To assess whether a person is dangerous a psychologist would take in consideration details including the person’s past violent behavior and response to treatment; a history of violence as both perpetrator and victim, fantasies of violence, plans to commit violence, familiarity and access to weapons, and substance abuse.
Speaking Point: Whether an individual is or is not likely to commit another serious violent act is difficult to predict but there are some factors that can lend some information to make a more educated guess. For example, when a person has clearly exhibited a recent history of repeated violence, it is reasonable to assume that he is likely to act violently again unless there has been a significant change in the attitudes or circumstances that led to the violence. Or, when a person is confined because of violent behavior it is reasonable to assume he will commit violence again when released if the personality traits, attitudes and circumstances that led to the pervious violence remain constant.
Speaking Point: And, serious dangerousness maybe said to exist when psychotic persons make serious threats or statements of intention to commit violence.
Speaking Point: Substance abuse is a major factor in both violent and nonviolent repeat offenders. Therefore, substance issues must be acknowledged and addressed when violence is a possibility
Speaking Point: A person with a history of serious violence should be monitored closely for signs of regression toward violent behavior.