A prospective real world validation of the Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol (RSVP)

Dr Raj Darjee1

1Forensicare, Clifton Hill, Australia


The RSVP is a structured professional judgement (SPJ) instrument used internationally to assess and manage the risk posed by certain sexual offenders. However there have been no published validation studies, and the three unpublished studies have been undertaken by the developers. I will describe findings from a prospective validation study undertaken in the UK. RSVP assessments were undertaken by clinicians in the Serious Offender Liaison Service (SOLS) in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 109 sexual offenders referred primarily by criminal justice agencies. Cases were followed up for an average of 3.25 years (range 0.5 – 6  years). Further sexual offences were committed by 11% (convictions only) or 23% (including charges and allegations) of cases. RSVP case prioritisation rating predicted time to further sexual offence, and number of RSVP risk factors and serious harm rating predicted seriously harmful offending. The outcome of interest (further offending), however, was confounded by the level of management received by the case following the initial RSVP assessment. These findings provide some supportive evidence for the use of the RSVP, particularly with more complex/higher risk cases, to assess and manage risk of further harm.


Raj is a forensic psychiatrist with the Forensicare Problem Behaviour Program and senior research fellow at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University. He has extensive experience as both a clinician, researcher, teacher and service developer in forensic psychiatry. He has over 60 publications, his recent research is on sexual violence and sexual homicide, and his clinical expertise is in assessing and managing sexual and violent offenders with paraphilias and/or personality disorders. He recently moved to Melbourne after working for almost 20 years in forensic psychiatry in Scotland.

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