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Thesis

Abstract

The identification of high-risk juvenile sex offenders has become one of the most controversial tasks of forensic mental health professionals today. Courts rely on clinician assessments when attempting to differentiate between youth who are low risk versus youth that are high risk to recidivate. The present study will examine the effectiveness of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) in predicting sexual and nonsexual recidivism in a sample of juvenile sex offenders. Participants are 100 male juvenile sex offenders who were evaluated by a forensic evaluation service regarding their risk to reoffend. Archival case information, which contains forensic reports, will be used to score the SAVRY. The Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve (ROC) and Cox regression will be used to analyze the predictive validity of SAVRY risk ratings. Results showed that the SAVRY Total Score and overall SAVRY Risk Rating, along with several of the subscales, significantly predicted general and nonsexual recidivism in this sample. Significance was not found for sexual recidivism, except for scores on the SAVRY historical risk factors subscale. The results point to the possibility that juvenile sex offenders should be considered as a smaller subgroup of a larger delinquent population, rather than as their own unique population.



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