Program reduces youth sexual and violent reoffending

A study of more than 700 youth sexual and violent offenders found those who successfully completed treatment with the Griffith Youth Forensic Service (GYFS) were less likely to sexually and violently reoffend over time.

Recidivism outcomes of 200 male youth sexual offenders who undertook treatment with GYFS between 2001 and 2012 were compared with another group of 335 adolescent sexual offenders who had not received treatment and 196 serious, violent adolescent nonsexual offenders.

Sexual reoffending rates were low for all groups. However, “preliminary analyses indicated those who sexually reoffended in the GYFS group did so at a faster rate but then plateaued, whereas the other two groups continued to offend sexually over time,’’ said James Ogilvie, GYFS Senior Clinician.

The study found overall that adolescents who successfully completed treatment with GYFS (80%), reoffended at the lowest rate, both sexually and violently, when compared to the other groups.

High-risk offenders prioritised

GYFS operates as a partnership between Griffith University and the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General. It provides a field-based and ecosystemic treatment service throughout Queensland for sexually offending youth and their families, prioritising high-risk offenders and those living in remote communities.

“There have been more than 570 referrals since 2001 with 49% from the Brisbane Metropolitan area and 35% for Australian First People,’’ Mr Ogilvie said.

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“The GYFS treatment program provides a service that is effective in reducing the sexual and violent recidivism rates of these high-risk offenders. It’s a model that emphasises the importance of working collaboratively with young offenders, their families, and other community and service agencies to achieve positive outcomes and increase community safety.”

Mr Ogilvie will present GYFS findings at the 2nd Australasian Youth Justice Conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on September 13.