Differences in Criminogenic Needs and Risk Prediction Based on Sexual Assault Typology


  • Mackenzie Thomas MacEwan University


Typologies have the potential to help us better understand the motivations and behaviours of individuals who commit sexual offences; however, there is limited research about the practical applications of typologies in sexual offender intervention and risk assessment. Using a well- established typology by Knight and Prentky (1990), we examined whether there were differences in criminogenic needs and predictive accuracy of two well-validated actuarial risk tools. Using a sample of 300 individuals who have been investigated for sexual assault, we categorized them into one of the five types of sexual offenders. Consistent with our expectations, our analyses revealed significant differences in the prevalence of six central criminogenic needs examined among the types. Also, in examining the predictive validity of the Static-99R and Static-2002R, it was found that the risk tools were not consistently accurate across the different types of offenders and recidivistic outcomes. These results suggest that individuals with different motivations and patterns of behaviour have unique criminogenic needs that contribute to their offending that should be considered in interventions. Furthermore, considering an individual’s sexual offending behaviours and motivation may prove useful in identifying the most accurate risk assessment tool for that offender. Although these results do not offer a complete picture of the application of typologies to sex offender treatment and risk assessment, it provides empirical evidence that supports criminal justice professionals considering offender motivations and patterns of behaviour when addressing individuals who sexually offend.

Department: Psychology 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sandy Jung