A conditional probability approach to risk assessment for child sexual offenders with different classes of victim

Criminology Research Council grant ; (1/02-03)

Specific scales were developed for discriminating child sexual offenders with different classes of victim. The project demonstrates a method of individualising scores on actuarial risk assessment measured in a way that makes them more meaningful for those involved in decision-making about individual child sexual offenders. At present, the only quantifiable approach to specific decision-making relies on a general prediction of future behaviour, based on group data. The Bayesian approach is one method that can be used to assist decision-makers to use this information in ways that lead to the more appropriate management of risk. Ultimately, the better management of known child sexual offenders will lead to fewer offences and a reduction in the number of children who lives are profoundly affected by sexual victimisation.