Validation of the Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol in Adult Sexual Offenders

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Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol, risk assessment, interrater reliability, concurrent validity, predictive validity

Sexual violence is a serious societal issue that is associated with victims experiencing a wide range of psychological difficulties. The proper assessment of risk for future sexual violence is critical to the treatment and management of sexual offenders. The Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol (RSVP; Hart et al., 2003) is a set of structured professional guidelines for assessing risk for sexual violence that provides a framework for estimating future risk as well as clinical formulation for treatment and management needs. To date, there has been very little research published on the RSVP even though it is currently being used by forensic professionals (Judge, Quayle, O'Rourke, Russell, & Darjee, 2014). This study examined the psychometric properties of the RSVP vis-à-vis the Sexual Violence Risk-20 (SVR-20; Boer, Hart, Kropp, & Webster, 1997), which is considered a parallel form of the RSVP given the similarity in content between these two sets of structured professional judgement guidelines. This study also examined the psychometric properties of the RSVP vis-à-vis a number of actuarial risk assessment instruments: the Static-99R (Helmus, Thornton, Hanson, & Babchishin, 2012), the Static- 2002R (Helmus et al., 2012), and the Sexual Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG; Quinsey, Harris, Rice, & Cormier, 1998, 2006; Harris, Rice, Quinsey, & Cormier, 2015). The sample consisted of 100 adult male sexual offenders who had participated in a sex offender treatment program. Sexual recidivism was coded over the follow-up period of approximately 10 years. Overall, the RSVP performed well in terms of interrater reliability, concurrent validity, and predictive validity. The interrater reliability of RSVP total scores and Summary Risk ratings was excellent (ICC2 range = .85 to .96) and was comparable with the interrater reliability of the SVR-20 and actuarial instruments. The RSVP total scores and Case Prioritization ratings demonstrated good concurrent validity with respect to SVR-20 total and domain scores and with the actuarial instruments’ total scores and risk categories, correlations all significant at p < .001. The RSVP total scores and Case Prioritization ratings were moderately and significantly associated with sexual recidivism, as were the SVR-20 total scores and the actuarial instruments’ total scores and risk categories.

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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Stephen D. Hart
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.