Can volunteers working with sex offenders correctly predict risk?

Andrew Bates, Nadia Wager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim/Background: The purpose of the study was to examine the effectiveness of the Dynamic Risk Review (DRR), a quarterly-completed risk assessment profile based on 17 questions scored on a Likert scale (0-6) by volunteers who are working with Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) in the UK. Methods: The case files of 447 sex offenders (known as ‘Core Members’) held by Circles UK were analysed to identify any ‘adverse outcomes’ in the individuals’ behaviour since they had taken part in CoSA receiving community support from trained volunteers. Fifty-six such cases were identified with ‘adverse outcomes’ ranging from arrest but with no further charge to reconviction for a sexual offence. Thirteen Core Members with adverse outcomes were identified as having at least three DRR assessment records. These 13 Core Members were compared with a randomly selected control group of Core Members with no recorded adverse outcomes and at least three recorded DRR scores. Results: It was observed that DRR scores for the adverse outcome group remained high across the successive assessments while those for the control group reduced incrementally at each assessment point. The differences between the DRR trends for the two groups attained statistical significance. Conclusions: There is discussion about how responses to DRR questions might inform case management of Core Members by CoSA organisations in the future, and how these findings fit in with sex offender management in the community in the UK more generally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual Offender Treatment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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