Find a researcher or supervisor
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…
This study sought to enhance knowledge of the link between child sexual abuse (CSA) and long-term criminality by investigating gender-specific effects and the role of index sexual abuse characteristics, revictimization, and serious mental health problems. An Australian sample of 2,759 documented cases of sexual abuse and 2,677 community controls were linked to statewide police records and public mental health service databases, with a follow-up period of 13–44 years. Four key findings emerged from the analysis: (1) CSA victims were more likely than controls to engage in all types of criminal behaviors including violent, sexual, and other offending; (2) gender moderated the relationship between CSA and criminal offending, with stronger associations found among females for general and violent offending, and among males for sexual offending; (3) certain features of the index sexual abuse (i.e., developmental period, number of perpetrators, relation to perpetrator), further victimization experiences, and the deve…
There is emerging recognition that positive or pro-social characteristics may lessen criminal propensity. There are now several adult and youth forensic instruments that include protective or strength components. Yet evidence supporting the protective capacities of these instruments with youth offending populations is still developing. This study aimed to identity the prevalence of strength items on the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory tool, and their relationships with risk and re-offending for a cohort of 212 multi-cultural Australian juveniles in custody. The prevalence of strengths in the sample was low, and differed by cultural group. Young people who possessed a strength yielded lower instrument total and domain scores and were more likely to be afforded a lower level of risk compared to youth without a strength. Moreover, youth who possessed a strength were significantly more likely to desist from re-offending. This association remained after controlling for level of risk. Findings poin…
Some reluctance exists among disability staff to report to police potentially criminal behaviour by people with intellectual disabilities. Both the nature and frequency of these behaviours and decision-making processes of staff concerning police involvement remain poorly understood. This study sought to explore potentially criminal behaviour by people living in disability services and the frequency of police involvement. A broad spectrum of potentially criminal behaviours was reported, most frequently involving acts of physical aggression. Police were contacted in 101/370 (27%) of the incidents reported; two-thirds involved acts where there was an identifiable victim; incidents reported to police were most likely to occur outside the disability service. A more detailed understanding of disability staff decision-making as it relates to initiating contact with the police, and the immediate and long-term issues and benefits concerning police contact and intervention, is required so as to more effectively prevent…
Objective Youth with mental health problems often have difficulties engaging in education and employment. In Australia, youth mental health services have been widely established with a key aim of improving role functioning; however, there is little knowledge of those who are not engaged in employment, education or training (NEET) and the factors which may influence this. This study aimed to examine NEET status and its correlates in a sample of such youth.Design Cross-sectional data from a longitudinal cohort study.Setting Between January 2011 and August 2012, young people presenting to one of the four primary mental health centres in Sydney or Melbourne were invited to participate.Participants Young adults (N=696) aged between 15 and 25 years (M=19.0, SD=2.8), 68% female, 58% (n=404) attended headspace in Sydney.Measures Individuals 'Not in any type of Education, Employment or Training' in the past month were categorised as NEET. Demographic, psychological and clinical factors alongside disability and functio…
Contemporary Australian crime statistics reveal an overall increasing trend in juvenile assault and other violent offence categories; these statistics have coincided with concerns within the Australian criminal justice system that the nature of youth violence has changed. This study utilized a detailed case file review design to investigate the extent and nature of changes in patterns of violent youth offending in Victoria, Australia. It was hypothesized that violent offending would significantly increase between 2000 and 2010, and that the characteristics of those engaging in violence and the types of violence they engaged in would have changed. Analyses showed that violent crime increased significantly and a number of clinically pertinent differences were observed. Continued monitoring of nuanced changes in the frequency and nature of violent offending among Australian youth is warranted to continue to reassure members of the community that criminal justice services are highly committed to their safety.
Background: The fear of lawsuits may discourage the ‘therapeutic risk-taking’ that is part of a recovery approach.
Objectives: To explore whether the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 legislation in Australia makes respect for recovery and rights more difficult.
Methods: This presentation will consider legislation and landmark cases before presenting a clinically practical framework for reducing medico-legal risk, while respecting rights and recovery.
Conclusions: The contemporary ‘standard of care’ in psychiatry not only ‘permits’ recovery-oriented care and respect of rights but requires a respect for these constructs.
Background: Abstract concepts from legislation, human rights and recovery discourse need to be ‘grounded’ in real-world clinical practice.
Objectives: To enhance confidence in applying the learnings from this symposium.
Methods: Small-group discussion of real-world dilemmas.
Conclusions: Simple, practical steps can be taken to better grapple with dilemmas thrown up by the ‘rights and recovery’ approach.
Background: ‘Recovery’ values are often seen as antithetical to effective management of risk in clinical psychiatry.
Objectives: To demonstrate that effective risk management and recovery-oriented care are complementary rather than clashing.
Methods: The presentation will explore the limitations of ‘one-sided approaches’ that ignore either personal recovery or risk management, by drawing on examples of such approaches in mental health services in Australia. It will then consider the roles of ‘therapeutic risk-taking’ and ‘collaborative safety planning’ as examples of balanced approaches.
Conclusions: Risk management and recovery-centred care need to be integrated for optimal psychiatric practice.
Background: Risk management has become an integral part of mental health service delivery. At the same time, the concept of personal recovery, which emphasizes positive risk-taking, has influenced mental health policy and international human rights law and has influenced reforms to mental health legislation governing compulsory treatment.
How then should mental health practitioners navigate the tensions that may exist between risk, recovery and human rights? While courts have placed limitations on the duty of care, which has meant that actions in negligence against mental health practitioners and their employers rarely succeed, mental health practitioners may nevertheless face considerable social pressure to err on the side of being risk averse in treating those within their care.
Objectives: To use case studies to provide a framework for clinical decision-making that respects rights and recovery, while mitigating risk.