Purpose – The aim of this paper is to provide up‐to‐date discussion of the types of factors used to assess sexual offenders risk. Design/methodology/approach – The current status of the factors used to assess risk in sexual offenders is examined. Findings – Risk factors broadly fall into two categories: static factors (i.e. generally unchangeable information such as previous offence history) from which a number of actuarial scales have been developed; and dynamic factors (i.e. psychological dispositions) that are typically identified in treatment. It is suggested that these risk factors are artefacts of the same behavioural and psychological vulnerabilities at different stages of assessment, with static factors acting as markers for underlying dispositions, while dynamic factors are the underlying dispositions. Practical implications – The paper discusses in some detail the status of age as a risk factor, where even though it is typically considered a static risk factor in a number of actuarial scales (allowance typically being made if individuals are over/under 25), there is a dynamic element (i.e. change with age or the passage of time) to this aspect of assessment. Originality/value – This paper may be useful to practitioners working in the field, in terms of providing a useful heuristic framework for risk conceptualisation.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 28, 2012
Keywords: Sexual offenders; Assessment; Static risk; Dynamic risk; Risk analysis; Criminals; Risk assessment
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