Inge Hempel1, Nicole Buck1, Maaike Cima2, and Hjalmar van Marle1 Risk assessment is considered to be a key element in the prevention of recidivism among juvenile sex offenders JSOs , often by imposing long-term consequences based on that assessment. The authors reviewed the literature on the predictive accuracy of six well-known risk assessment instruments used to appraise risk among JSOs: Through a systematic search, 19 studies were reviewed.
Studies showed differences in the predictive accuracies for general, violent, and sexual recidivism, and none of the instruments showed unequivocal positive results in predicting future offending. Because of the rapid development of juveniles, it is questionable to impose long-term restrictions based on a risk assessment only.
New challenges in improving risk assessment are discussed. Risk assessment is considered to be a key element in the prevention of recidivism, often by imposing long-term consequences on JSOs based on that assessment. However, in the last decades, only a few risk assessment instruments have been developed specifically for JSOs, and the literature on these instruments is limited.
The purpose of this review is to give an overview of the literature on the predictive accuracy of risk assessment instruments among JSOs. Sexual Offending Until 20 years ago, studies on sexual offending were mainly focused on adults. However, juveniles are responsible for a considerable percent- age of sexual offences.
These arrests included assaults and attempts of rape by force or threat of force but did not include statutory rape without force or other sex offences. Several attempts were made to classify JSOs. Most researchers are tempted to adapt models and methods for categorization and prediction that have proven to be reliable with adult offenders to juvenile offenders Caldwell, ; Worling, For example, similar to the adult sex offender population, juveniles who offend against children child molesters are compared with those who offend against peers or adults rapists.
Reoffending among JSOs is not limited to sex offences only. Caldwell examined recidivism studies that included a total of 11, JSOs. Within a mean follow-up period of 5 years, he found a mean base rate of 7. Specialized treatment is focused on reducing risk for reoffending. In addition, risk fac- tors for JSOs are often extrapolated from the adult literature, not empirically validating them for the JSO population. However, a number of risk factors have been empirically linked to sexual reoffending among JSOs.
Special factors are different from the factors that explain the offenses of other juvenile delinquents. They found many similarities between general delinquency risk factors for offending in both groups e. Special explanations suggest a role for sexual abuse history, exposure to sexual violence, other abuse or neglect, social isolation, early exposure to sex or pornography, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Especially notable was that JSOs reported more atypical sexual fantasies, behaviors, or interests, or were more often diagnosed with a paraphilia. Risk assessment is the examination of possible risks for reoffending based on fac- tors that are empirically related to reoffending. Risk assessment instruments differ in their combination of risk factors, resulting in different predictive accuracies. The pur- pose of this review is to give an up-to-date overview of the literature on the predictive accuracy of risk assessment instruments among JSOs.
YV —and give an overview of the predictive validities for sexual, violent non- sexual , and general reoffending. Finally, we will discuss the characteristics of the at Erasmus Univ Rotterdam on September 11, ijo. For a summary of the scales and contents of the instruments, see Table 1. Risk Assessment Instruments for JSOs Risk assessment has developed from unstructured clinical or professional judgments to actuarial methods and finally to structured professional judgments SPJs. Actuarial prediction involves a strictly evidence-based selection of risk factors empirically related to criminal behavior.
The SPJ approach provides guidelines for assessing risk in a systematic and structured manner, based on empirically supported risk factors, while permitting professional flexibility to consider unique characteristics of indi- vidual cases.
The J-SOAP-II is an empirically informed guide for the systematic review and assessment of a uniform set of risk factors that has been associated with sexual and violent offending. It is designed to be used for boys in the age range of 12 to 18 years who have been adjudicated for sexual offences as well as nonadjudicated youths with a history of sexually coercive behavior.
As at this point there are no cutoff scores available for catego- ries of risk, scores from J-SOAP-II should not be used in isolation when assessing risk.
Although not developed for that purpose, the 12 dynamic items of the J-SOAP-II might be used for assessing treatment needs and progress because of their changeabil- ity during the treatment process. This instrument is mandatory in two states in the United States and is often used to impose long-term consequences on JSOs. According to Prentky and Righthand , the interrater reliability for all items is good to excellent, ranging from. McCoy , however, found interrater reliabilities ranging from.
The internal consistency alphas ranged from. The interrater reliability of. Ralston found an interrater reliability of.