An Analysis of Dangerous Sexual Offender Assessment Reports


The paper’s purpose is to evaluate the article and outline the study’s strengths, weaknesses, and applicability to practice. The text’s structure comprises an introduction outline and the article’s problem statement. The research’s strengths and weaknesses are also crucial sections of the paper. Additionally, two areas recommended for future research have been explained, with the conclusion taking the last section of the document.

Introduction and Problem Statement

Today, Australia’s preventive detention legislation activities rely on forensic clinicians’ assessment of risk for future offending. Decisions about the bail application, parole, sentencing and conditions for release from custody can all be influenced by the offender’s perceived magnitude of risk for violence. There lacks adequate information involving how these assessments of risk are being undertaken. The research aims at solving this problem by conducting a descriptive analysis of risk assessment practices of mental health professionals undertaking assessments under preventive detention within Australia.

Major Strengths of the Article

One of the research article’s strengths is anchored on a good research question. The research question for the study outlines particularly what the research aims at learning and defines the scope of the study. In the article, the researcher points out that an analysis of actual reports tendered to the courts is carried on assessing how forensic clinicians go about the risk assessment process. The research question brought forward in the article is straightforward and focused, not very easy to answer or too complicated, not too broad or too narrow, while also researchable (Doyle et al., 2011). Additionally, the scope of the research is well defined as the researcher points out that a comprehensive review of the risk assessment literature is beyond the scope of the article.

The article’s strength evident through the use of relevant, empirical data and proper data analysis techniques. The author engaged in an empirical analysis of clinicians’ risk assessment practices under Australia’s preventive detention practices. However, the strength of the research does not lie only in collecting empirical data. Using empirical data in the research article provides objective and unbiased evidence. Another power of the research article is that it acknowledges its limitations and further issues suggestions for future research. The researcher notes that some of the study’s limitations were a smaller sample size than previously expected due to Queensland’s decision not to participate. The study recommends that law practitioners can only apply the results within the legislation in Western Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria (Doyle et al., 2011). Additionally, the scholar points to another limitation of the study, stating that a small number of cases were available for the inter-rater reliability analyses.

Major Weaknesses or Gaps in the Article

The research article has numerous weaknesses and gaps; for instance, all the abbreviations used within the report are not clearly explained. For example, the author does not outline the meaning of the abbreviation PCL-R, though, from the article, one can learn that it is a risk assessment tool. The omission of explaining abbreviations can challenge a non-specialist in identifying the instrument or any researcher who might be interested in testing or sourcing the device for future research. Though the aim of the study is clearly explained in the article abstract, there lacks of a clear explanation of the results of the findings. The researcher only provides a short and vague suggestion from the study’s conclusions without concisely outlining the study results in the abstract section (Doyle et al., 2011). Another weakness of the article is that it does not provide a piece of biographical information relating to the author. Therefore, it is hard to know the author’s qualifications and authority in this subject.

Two Future Areas of Research

Due to a low number of cases for inter-rater reliability, the author recommends areas of future research by calling for an extension of this analysis to Queensland. The author states that this is reasonable to deliver an authentic national assessment of the standard of practice of risk assessment within the legal context. Another area for future research is to expand the investigation into clinicians’ decision-making processes in evaluating risk (Doyle et al., 2011). This aspect also includes how outcomes obtained from multiple risk assessment methods and tools are interlinked into the final opinion on risk.


The article provides an elaborative explanation and analysis of risk assessment methods crucial for Australia’s preventive detention practices. Through studies of different assessment tools like the actuarial models and structured professional judgment (SPJ), the author of the research echoes their validity in the investigation. Though earlier clinical practice studies are achieved through surveying professionals, this article employs analysis of the actual reports, which eradicates the risk of self-report biases. Analysis of the information by the researcher revealed that the Static-99 tool was the most commonly used assessment instrument. The study’s findings indicate the translation of hard science to applied practice. The study also revealed that most clinicians employed unreliable risk assessment techniques and misreported results. The article also points out that most clinicians failed to communicate the risk assessment outcomes effectively. The arrangement and language used in the article are straightforward to understand. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of various risk assessments that can be easily translated to enhance clinical and legal practice.


Doyle, D. J., Ogloff, J. R. P., & Thomas, S. D. M. (2011). An analysis of dangerous sexual offender assessment reports: Recommendations for best practice. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 18(4), 537–556.

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"An Analysis of Dangerous Sexual Offender Assessment Reports." LawBirdie, 4 Aug. 2023,


LawBirdie. (2023) 'An Analysis of Dangerous Sexual Offender Assessment Reports'. 4 August.


LawBirdie. 2023. "An Analysis of Dangerous Sexual Offender Assessment Reports." August 4, 2023.

1. LawBirdie. "An Analysis of Dangerous Sexual Offender Assessment Reports." August 4, 2023.


LawBirdie. "An Analysis of Dangerous Sexual Offender Assessment Reports." August 4, 2023.