Under Belgian law, offenders not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) are committed by the courts to forensic mental health treatment. The use of violence risk assessment tools has become routine in these settings. However, there are no national statistics regarding violence risk assessment in the Belgian forensic population. A study was undertaken to collect risk assessment data (PCL-R, VRAG, HCR-20) on a large cohort of forensic patients committed to Medium Security units in the Flanders region and in High-Security units in the Walloon region. Flemish patients were expected to present a lower risk compared with their Walloon counterparts. Instead, data yielded by a structured risk assessment method demonstrate the opposite. Moreover, the majority of patients in Flemish facilities had committed violent offenses and were institutionalized for shorter periods whereas the majority of Walloon patients had committed sexual offenses and were institutionalized for markedly longer periods.
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