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Sexual Reconviction Rates in the United Kingdom and Actuarial Risk Estimates

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 121-138
Leam A. Craig; Kevin D. Browne; Ian Stringer; Todd E. Hogue
Date Published
January 2008
18 pages
This study examined the risks posed by sexual offenders and the factors associated with their recidivism to prevent sexual assault against women and children.
The results found that the sexual reconviction rate for incarcerated sexual offenders was higher than non-incarcerated sexual offenders. The sexual reconviction rates in the United Kingdom are comparable to those of European and North American studies. The study found that there are a number of factors that affect the sexual reconviction rate, first is “downgrading” where sexual offenses are bargained down to violent offenses in order to secure a conviction; a second factor affecting the sexual reconviction rate is the age of the offender; and the third is the definition of offending used in sexual offender reconviction followup studies (i.e., charges, arrests, convictions, behaviors, etc.) which may also affect the rate of sexual reconviction reported in various studies. Recent findings in risk assessment suggest that structuring information on risk factors for sexual offending is more useful for prediction than only using clinical approaches. Questions now relate to the use of dynamic variables and their correlation to sexual recidivism. The study recommended a structured approach to risk appraisal that includes both statistical risk assessment and clinical indicators of psychological vulnerabilities and related historical risk factors that are likely to enhance the prediction of sexual recidivism. This study reviewed the literature of 16 UK sexual reconviction studies, 8 using incarcerated samples and 8 using non-incarcerated samples. Figures, tables, and references


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