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Alice in recidivism land: The Queens logic and child protection workers' assessment of sexual dangerousness

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2016, 00:00 authored by I R Coyle, R L Halon, T W Campbell, Don ThomsonDon Thomson, J Woskett
This article is based on a case that highlights the dearth of cogent and pertinent risk assessment information in the reports and testimonies of many involved in assessing risks to children in real life problematic circumstances. In the case, the decision to exclude an intrafamilial sexual offender from the family home was made in large measure on the basis that the offender's wife accepted the offender's "denial of guilt" to accusations previously made against him. Keeping families apart should not be entertained without reliable and valid evidence pointing to that decision. However, as will be seen, the evidence often relied upon by child protection workers, albeit in good faith, is neither. The assessment processes described in the case point directly to what appears to be a wider lack of knowledge specific to assessment of recidivism, to misrepresentation of risk assessment information, and to overarching epistemological issues that appear to be widely ignored and/or misunderstood within the overall field of risk assessment and threat management. The purpose of this article is to describe how the information used to decide upon exclusion in the case cannot be considered probative and to iterate the methodological processes that must be considered in such cases if miscarriages of justice are to be avoided.

History

Journal

American journal of forensic psychology

Volume

34

Issue

1

Pagination

5 - 36

Publisher

American College of Forensic Psychiatry

Location

Carlsbad, Calif.

ISSN

0733-1290

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, American Journal of Forensic Psychology

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