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Predictive Validity of the SAVRY With Indigenous and Caucasian Female and Male Adolescents on Probation

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Indigenous people and the courts have emphasized that it is important to examine whether violence risk assessment tools are valid and appropriate for Indigenous youth. However, studies are scarce. Therefore, we examined the predictive validity of youth probation officers’ SAVRY ratings for 744 Canadian youth, including 299 Indigenous youth (219 male, 80 female), and 445 Caucasian youth (357 male, 88 female) in a prospective field study. The SAVRY summary risk ratings and risk total scores significantly predicted violent and any reoffending for Indigenous female and male youth with medium effect sizes. Relatively few significant differences in the predictive validity emerged for Indigenous and Caucasian youth. However, Historical, Protective, and Risk Total scores predicted any recidivism better for Caucasian males than Indigenous males. Also, Indigenous youth scored significantly higher on all risk domains than Caucasian youth. Opposite to predictions, the rates of false positives were higher for Caucasian youth than for Indigenous youth. Based on the results, the SAVRY appears to be a reasonable tool to use for assessing risk in youth who are Indigenous. However, assessors should take steps to ensure that they use the SAVRY in a culturally appropriate manner, such as considering cultural factors in case formulations and treatment planning as the SAVRY does not ground assessments in an understanding of factors such as colonialism. In addition, future research should examine culturally salient risk factors (e.g., discrimination) and examine potential causes of higher risk scores in Indigenous youth, particularly the role of both past and present-day colonialism.
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Muir, N. M., Viljoen, J. L., Jonnson, M. R., Cochrane, D. M., & Rogers, B. J. (Jun 2020). Predictive validity of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) with Indigenous and Caucasian female and male adolescents on probation. Psychological Assessment, 32(6), 594–607. DOI: 10.1037/pas0000816.
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Psychological Assessment
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Predictive Validity of the SAVRY With Indigenous and Caucasian Female and Male Adolescents on Probation
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