Assessing sexual recidivism risk in adolescents provides important direction for intervention and supervision efforts. However, there are a number of significant challenges and potential dangers involved. This ATSA Master Class will provide an overview of the most critical issues impacting sexual recidivism risk assessments for adolescents. First, common erroneous assumptions that have historically directed assessment and treatment will be examined, and those risk and protective factors for sexual recidivism with an empirical basis will be identified. This will be followed by a detailed introduction to three commonly-used risk assessment tools for adolescent sexual recidivism (J-SOAP-II, J-SORRAT-II, ERASOR), with a focus on current empirical support and limitations regarding their use. Finally, given the importance of the quality of information used when formulating risk estimates, psychological and physiological testing approaches will be discussed (polygraph, viewing time, penile plethysmograph) and a number of concrete tips and strategies for interviewing youth about sensitive issues will be described.
James Worling, PhD is a clinical and forensic psychologist with over 25 years experience working extensively with adolescents who have sexually offended and their families. During this time, he has presented many workshops internationally, and he has written numerous of professional articles and book chapters regarding the etiology, assessment, and treatment of adolescent sexual offending behaviors. Most recently, he served as a clinician, researcher, and trainer at the Sexual Abuse: Family Education and Treatment (SAFE–T) Program, a specialized, community-based program that provides sexual abuse–specific assessment, treatment, consultation, and long-term support to child victims of incest and their families, children with sexual behavior problems and their families, and adolescent sexual offenders and their families. Developer of the ERASOR, Dr. Worling is currently in full-time private practice, and he serves as an Associate Editor for Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research & Treatment.