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Effective risk management planning for those convicted of sexual offending

Kewley, S, Beech, A, Harkins, L and Bonsall, H (2015) Effective risk management planning for those convicted of sexual offending. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 7 (4). pp. 237-257. ISSN 1759-6599

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which risk is addressed in the risk management planning process of those convicted of sexual offending.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from a risk assessment and management system called the Offender Assessment System (OASys), used by the National Offender Management Service, in England and Wales. The records of 216 clients were accessed and each risk management plan analysed. The study aimed to understand if first, general and sexual risk factors identified by assessors were recorded and detailed in subsequent plans; second, if specialist sexual offending risk assessment tools were used to inform risk management strategies; and third, if both a balance of control and support mechanisms were in place to tackle identified risk and needs of clients.
Findings – Inconsistencies were found in relation to practitioners transposing risks identified, into the subsequent risk management plans. Strategies were therefore deemed, inadequate as there was a significant omission of the use of specialist sexual risk assessment tools to inform and ensure risk assessment to be robust. In addition risk management plans were often overbearing in nature, as assessors tended to utilise control strategies to assist the reintegration process, in contrast to a combination of both control and support.
Research limitations/implications – This sample was taken from only one probation trust in England and Wales. The findings might therefore be unique to this organisation rather than be representative of national practice. This study should therefore, be replicated in a number of other probation areas. In addition, it is important to note that this study only reviewed one electronic tool used by practitioners. Therefore, while it might appear for example that the RM2000 tool was not routinely completed; this cannot be assumed as practitioners might have adopted local custom and practice, recording RM2000 scores elsewhere.
Practical implications – These findings highlight the need for some understanding as to why there is a lack of consistency throughout the risk management planning process. Practitioners should receive ongoing risk management training, development and supportive supervision. In particular, practitioners require supervision that supports and develops their skills when applying RM2000 classifications to their clients’ risk management plans. Likewise initiatives which develop practitioner’s awareness and application of strengths based approaches such as the Good Lives Model should be encouraged. These will help practitioners develop plans that address both the risks while supporting their development of the strengths a client presents.
Originality/value – To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study of its kind, which examines the risk management plans of those convicted of sexual offending, completed by practitioners in England and Wales using the OASys tool.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV8301 Penology. Prisons. Corrections
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 09:40
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 11:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1108/JACPR-05-2015-0171
Editors: Louise Dixon, Professor (hon) Leam, D
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7030
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