Using the Violence Risk Scale-Sexual Offense Version in Sexual Violence Risk Assessments: Updated Risk Categories and Recidivism Estimates From a Multisite Sample of Treated Sexual Offenders

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Abstract

The present study sought to develop updated risk categories and recidivism estimates for the Violence Risk Scale-Sexual Offense version (VRS-SO; Wong, Olver, Nicholaichuk, & Gordon, 2003–2017), a sexual offender risk assessment and treatment planning tool. The overarching purpose was to increase the clarity and accuracy of communicating risk assessment information that includes a systematic incorporation of new information (i.e., change) to modify risk estimates. Four treated samples of sexual offenders with VRS-SO pretreatment, posttreatment, and Static-99R ratings were combined with a minimum follow-up period of 10-years postrelease (N = 913). Logistic regression was used to model 5- and 10-year sexual and violent (including sexual) recidivism estimates across 6 different regression models employing specific risk and change score information from the VRS-SO and/or Static-99R. A rationale is presented for clinical applications of select models and the necessity of controlling for baseline risk when utilizing change information across repeated assessments. Information concerning relative risk (percentiles) and absolute risk (recidivism estimates) is integrated with common risk assessment language guidelines to generate new risk categories for the VRS-SO. Guidelines for model selection and forensic clinical application of the risk estimates are discussed.

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