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'The ERISCO and ESP: New risk estimation tools for Internet child abuse material offenders'

Objective: Internet Child Abuse Material (I/CAM) offences present serious consequences to child safety in the global community. There are limited risk assessment tools available for use with this specific cohort of sexual offenders. Launched in 2022, the Estimated Risk of Internet Child Sexual Offending (ERICSO) is an integrated assessment and treatment model for I/CAM offenders. It provides guidance for the risk estimation of I/CAM offenders to assist with quantifying risk of reoffending and individualised, risk-relevant treatment formulation.
Method: The ERICSO was developed through a multi-stage process including systematic review, survey of professionals, and a single-user offender case study. Initial validation testing used a case series analysis to inform a conceptual framework for individually targeted, offence-specific treatment for I/CAM offenders.
A short version, the ERICSO Screening Protocol (ESP) has also been developed. The ESP provides police with a tool for prioritising referrals for criminal investigation, or post-sentence, case file reviews. With no interview required, the ESP enables proactive case prioritisation and monitoring of those charged with and convicted of I/CAM offences.
Results: Preliminary results indicate ERICSO higher scores are consistent with I/CAM offenders having more online sexual behaviour diversity and more areas of risk/treatment need. Early validation results found the ERISCO to be consistent with scores on known assessment tools (SSES, UCLALS, ISST and SVR-20 V2).
Conclusion: The ERICSO and ESP provide guidance for the assessment of I/CAM offenders who may reoffend with online or contact child sexual offences. Recognising the diversity and individual differences of I/CAM offenders, focussed assessment and individualised compassionate and risk relevant therapies may increase treatment efficacy and help reduce recidivism.
Key Learning: Born from a history of generational attitudes towards rehabilitation and risk assessment, the launch of the ERICSO and ESP present an exciting opportunity in the risk estimation of I/CAM offenders.

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Australian Federal Police

Dr Catherine Garrington

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