The predictive validity of risk assessment tools for female offenders: A systematic review

Kate Geraghty, Jessica Woodhams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
2244 Downloads (Pure)


Assessing an offender's risk level is important given the impact of criminal behavior on victims, the consequences for the offender, and for society more generally. A wide range of assessment tools have been developed to assess risk in offenders. However, the validity of such tools for female offenders has been questioned. We present a systematic literature review of studies examining the accuracy with which risk assessment tools can predict violence and recidivism in female offenders. Five databases were searched, reference lists of relevant publications were hand searched, and an online search engine was used to identify studies. Fifteen studies were subject to review which evaluated nine risk assessment instruments (COMPAS, CAT-SR, HCR-20, LSI, PLC-R, OGRS, RISc, RM2000V, VRAG). The quality of these studies was systematically examined using a detailed quality assessment. The review findings indicate that the most effective tool for assessing both violence and recidivism in women was the LSI. There was variability in the quality scores obtained, with studies limited by measurement issues and standards of reporting results. Future research should aim to improve the quality of studies in this area, assess predictive accuracy across subtypes of female offenders, and compare correctional and psychiatric samples independently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Early online date14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


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