Assessment, management, and treatment of sex offenders: what is known, what is controversial, what needs further investigation


  • Georgia Zara Pensamultimedia
  • David P. Farrington
  • Franco Freilone
  • Friedrich Lösel



Sex offending is considered one of the most offensive crimes in Western societies. This article presents a description of the advances in scientific and clinical studies in the understanding of sexual offending, with particular attention to risk and criminogenic needs, sexual recidivism and its assessment. It offers an overview of the treatment programmes that work most efficiently, of those that are promising, and of those that do not seem to work, and why. Much can be learnt about sex offenders from using criminal career information, and from assessing the risk dimensionally, in order to identify accurately the level of risk and the criminogenic needs that require intervention.