Use of the Violence Risk Scale—Sexual Offender Version and the Stable 2007 to Assess Dynamic Sexual Violence Risk in a Sample of Treated Sexual Offenders

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Abstract

The present study provides an examination of dynamic sexual violence risk featuring the Stable-2007 (Hanson, Harris, Scott, & Helmus, 2007) and the Violence Risk Scale—Sexual Offender version (VRS-SO; Wong, Olver, Nicholaichuk, & Gordon, 2003) in a Canadian sample of 180 federally incarcerated sexual offenders who attended a high-intensity sexual offender treatment program. Archival pretreatment and posttreatment ratings were completed on the VRS-SO and Stable-2007, and recidivism data were obtained from official criminal records, with the sample being followed up approximately 10 years postrelease. VRS-SO pre- and posttreatment dynamic scores demonstrated significant predictive accuracy for sexual, nonsexual violent, any violent (including sexual), and general recidivism, while Stable-2007 pre- and posttreatment scores were significantly associated with the latter 3 outcomes; these associations were maintained after controlling for the Static-99R (Helmus, Thornton, Hanson, & Babchishin, 2012). Finally, significant pre-post differences, amounting to approximately three quarters of a standard deviation, were found on Stable-2007 and VRS-SO scores. VRS-SO change scores were significantly associated with reductions in nonsexual violent, any violent, and general recidivism (but not sexual recidivism) after controlling for baseline risk or pretreatment score, while Stable-2007 change scores did not significantly predict reductions in any recidivism outcomes. Applications of these tools within the context of dynamic sexual violence risk assessment incorporating the use of change information are discussed.

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