The development of the ERICSO – a proposed instrument for internet child abuse material offender assessment

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Abstract

Purpose: There are a limited number of risk assessment tools relevant to the internet child abuse material (I/CAM) offender cohort. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new tool, the “Estimated Risk for Internet Child Sexual Offending” (ERICSO). The ERICSO has been developed to assist in the treatment and prevention of sexual crimes against children. Design/methodology/approach: The ERICSO was developed through a multi-stage process including systematic review, survey of professionals and offender case study. Findings: An empirically guided tool for estimating risk for I/CAM offenders, the ERICSO is composed of four domains. The Demographic domain questions provide information about the offender, while Collection domain questions address the content of the offender’s files. The Nature of Engagement domain considers the offender’s interaction with I/CAM, behavioural aspects and contact with children. The Social Aspect domain questions address the offender’s engagement with other I/CAM users. Finally, the assessor may use Structured Professional Judgement to provide additional information, and a summary of the offender’s relevant circumstances and a risk estimation. Practical implications: The ERICSO provides guidance for the assessment of I/CAM offenders who may reoffend with online child sexual offences, and I/CAM offenders who may reoffend with contact child sexual offences. Originality/value: Born from a history of generational attitudes towards rehabilitation and risk assessment, the launch of the ERICSO presents an exciting opportunity in the risk estimation of I/CAM offenders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-470
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Forensic Practice
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2022

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