The promises and perils of developing a national sex offender recidivism database in Australia

Caroline Spiranovic, Anna Ferrante, Marie-Jeanne Buscot, Kate Griffiths, Alfred Allan, Stephen C.P. Wong, Hilde Tubex, Francis Morgan

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Much of what we know about sexual offenders and risk management is derived from empirical studies on sex offender populations in North America. In comparison to Canada and the United States, the evidence base in Australia on sexual offender risk management is under-developed. In this paper, we describe a current research project tasked with developing a national sex offender recidivism database to advance the evidence base in Australia. It is argued that a national database would advance knowledge and practice in the field of sex offender risk management in Australia in a multitude of ways. Yet there are many obstacles and difficulties in developing such a database. After putting forward a case for the need for such a database, we outline the issues we have encountered and the approaches we have adopted to develop this database. It is intended that this contemporary comment may not only alert readers to this emerging data resource in Australia but also function as a road map to guide future empirical research on offender population databases in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


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