[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One hundred thirty child sexual abusers were diagnosed using each of following four methods: (a) phallometric testing, (b) strict application of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision [DSM-IV-TR]) criteria, (c) Rapid Risk Assessment of Sex Offender Recidivism (RRASOR) scores, and (d) "expert" diagnoses rendered by a seasoned clinician. Comparative utility and intermethod consistency of these methods are reported, along with recidivism data indicating predictive validity for risk management. Results suggest that inconsistency exists in diagnosing pedophilia, leading to diminished accuracy in risk assessment. Although the RRASOR and DSM-IV-TR methods were significantly correlated with expert ratings, RRASOR and DSM-IV-TR were unrelated to each other. Deviant arousal was not associated with any of the other methods. Only the expert ratings and RRASOR scores were predictive of sexual recidivism. Logistic regression analyses showed that expert diagnosis did not add to prediction of sexual offence recidivism over and above RRASOR alone. Findings are discussed within a context of encouragement of clinical consistency and evidence-based practice regarding treatment and risk management of those who sexually abuse children.
Annals of Sex Research 11/2010; 23(2):260-74. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study represents an examination of recidivism rates associated with the pilot project of Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) in South-Central Ontario, Canada. A group of 60 high-risk sexual offenders involved in COSA after having been released at the end of their sentence were matched to a group of 60 high-risk sexual offenders who had been released at the end of their sentence, but who did not become involved in COSA. Results show that the offenders who participated in the COSA pilot project had significantly lower rates of any type of reoffending than did the offenders who did not participate in COSA. Specifically, offenders who participated in COSA had a 70% reduction in sexual recidivism in contrast to the matched comparison group (5% vs. 16.7%), a 57% reduction in all types of violent recidivism (including sexual - 15% vs. 35%), and an overall reduction of 35% in all types of recidivism (including violent and sexual - 28.3% vs. 43.4%). Further, a considerable harm reduction function was noted in the COSA sample, in that sexual reoffences in this group were categorically less severe than prior offences by the same individual. This function was not observed in the matched comparison group.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study presents evaluation data from the Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) pilot project in South-Central Ontario, Canada – specifically regarding the effect that COSA has had on the community and those personally involved in the project. Results suggest that the COSA initiative has had a profound effect on all stakeholders: offenders, community volunteers, affiliated professionals, and the community-at-large. Being involved in a COSA appears to have greatly assisted many high-risk sexual offenders released to the community in remaining crime-free, with many reporting that they likely would have returned to offending without help from COSA. Community volunteers involved in the project reported a perceived increase in community safety as a result of COSA, as well as a belief that Core Members were motivated to succeed in the community. Professionals and agencies (for example, police officers, social services professionals, administrators, and other similar professionals) identified increased offender responsibility and accountability, as well as enhanced community safety. Survey results obtained from members of the community-at-large showed substantial increases in perceived community safety in knowing that high-risk sexual offenders in the community were involved in the project. The results of this study are discussed within a framework of empowering communities to participate in the effective risk management of released sexual offenders.
The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 06/2007; 46(3):289 - 302.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The release to the community of a sexual offender is frequently accompanied by intense coverage in the news media. Too often, the type of coverage these releases receive serves only to force many offenders into hiding or out of one community and into another. Forced to move to another community, the scapegoating process starts all over again. It is well known that secrecy and isolation are critical elements in sexual offending behaviour. Thus, forcing offenders into hiding does nothing to increase community safety or offender accountability and, arguably, increases the risk that new victims will be created. The most problematic releases are those in which sexual offenders arrive in a community with few or no links, and with little access to appropriate treatment and supervisory services. This article outlines a restorative approach to the risk management of high-risk sexual offenders in Canada using professionally-facilitated volunteerism. The Circles of Support and Accountability model grew out of an ad hoc, faith-based response to a situation much like that described above in South-Central Ontario, Canada. The resultant pilot project has since reached its twelfth anniversary and the model has proliferated both nationally and internationally.
The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 01/2007; 46(1):1 - 15.