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Risky business: a regional comparison of the levels of risk and service needs of sexually offending youth

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Title: Risky business: a regional comparison of the levels of risk and service needs of sexually offending youth
Author: Schoenfeld, Tara McKenzie
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Interdisciplinary Studies
Copyright Date: 2008
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2008-12-18
Subject Keywords Sexually offending youth Greater Vancouver; Juvenile sex offender assessment protocol-II Thompson Nicola; Risk of adolescent sexual offence recidivism version 2.0; Sexual and non-sexual offending; J-SOAP-II; ERASOR-II; Youth forensic psychiatric services Central Okanagan; Prevention and intervention strategies
Abstract: Considerable attention has focussed on identifying individual factors associated with, or predictive of, sexual offending (e.g., Efta-Breitbach & Freeman, 2004). In light of these individual factors, clinicians and researchers have developed standardized instruments for assessing the risk posed by sexually offending youth. Two such instruments are the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II; Prentky & Righthand, 2003) and the Estimate of Risk of Adolescent Sexual Offence Recidivism Version 2.0 (ERASOR-II; Worling & Curwen, 2001). In addition to individual factors, research on crime has demonstrated that structural factors within the community may be important determinants of sexual and non-sexual offending (e.g., McCarthy, 1991; Ouimet, 1999; Shaw & McKay, 1942; Wirth, 1938). Therefore, the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to compare the psychometric properties of two newly developed risk assessment instruments (i.e., J-SOAP-II and ERASOR-II) and (b) to use the better instrument to compare the levels of risk posed by sexually offending youth in 3 neighbouring, but diverse communities. Using file information, the J-SOAP-II and ERASOR-II were scored on 84 adolescent males between the ages of 11 and 20 years who had committed a sexual offence and received treatment at Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services (YFPS) in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA; n = 30), Central Okanagan (CO; n = 26), and Thompson Nicola region (TN; n = 28). Calculations of interrater reliability and item-total correlations indicated that the J-SOAP-II was a better assessment instrument for this sample of offenders. Consequently, further regional analysis of risk was conducted using the J-SOAP-II data. Results indicated that although there were no regional differences among the severity and history of sexual offending, TN youth generally had a greater number of risk factors than did youth in CO and GVA. Specifically, youth in TN were found to be higher risk in the areas of intervention, general problem behaviour, iii and family/environment dynamics. These results suggest that to better understand youth who commit sexual offences and to provide appropriate prevention and intervention strategies for individual offenders and their communities, youth should not be evaluated in isolation from their social and community context. Recommendations for practice are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/3097

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