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

Coyle, Ian R. and Halon, Robert L. and Campbell, Terence W. and Thomson, Donald M. and Woskett, Jessica (2016) Alice in recidivism land: The Queens logic and child protection workers' assessment of sexual dangerousness. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 34 (1). pp. 5-36. ISSN 0733-1290


Abstract

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.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2021)
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 22:21
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 00:12
Uncontrolled Keywords: child protection; child sexual abuse; decision making; denial; family; guilt; hazard; human; recidivism; risk assessment; risk factor; sexual crime; sexual dangerousness; threat; witness
Fields of Research (2008): 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180199 Law not elsewhere classified
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170104 Forensic Psychology
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520103 Forensic psychology
48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4899 Other law and legal studies > 489999 Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/49405

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