A Matter of Shared Responsibility: How Practitioners, Policy Makers, and Media shape SexOffender Risk Assessment in Flanders (Belgium)

Katarzyna Uzieblo, Liesbeth Merckx, Tine Vertommen, Minne De Boeck, Wim Huys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

n the last decades the appraisal of risk in sex offenders has seen significant advances through thedevelopment of structured risk assessment tools. Not only have several tools been developed toimprove the predictive validity of risk evaluations in sex offenders, but these assessments are alsoexpected to be advantageous to treatment providers and policy. Now the question arises to whatextent these risk assessment tools are being embraced in practice. The current article will zoom inon current risk assessment practice in Flanders. The main aim is to unravel the role of important players within this field. It will be argued that despite several recent important developments withinFlemish sex offender risk assessment practice, a wide range of factors on the level of media, policymakers, and practitioners threaten to hamper further progress in developing a transparent andevidence-based risk assessment policy. To illustrate this precarious situation in Flanders, threeissues will be addressed. First, the impact of a high-profile child sexual abuse case, the Dutrouxcase, on Belgian policy and public opinion will be discussed. Second, the lack of a consistent riskassessment policy across various settings will be illustrated. Finally, critical issues arising from media, policy and practice will be identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSexual Offender Treatment
Volume13
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • risk assessment
  • sex offenders
  • Flanders
  • Belgium
  • media
  • policy
  • practitioners

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