Forensic psychologists are mental health professionals who specialize in conducting evaluations in legal matters across administrative, civil, and criminal contexts. There are numerous subspecialties within forensic psychology, including that of sexual risk assessment. Forensic psychologists are often called upon to conduct sexual risk assessments at the various stages of criminal and civil legal processes (e.g., pre-trial bail motions and plea bargaining, trial, sentencing, community supervision, and in relation to civil commitment proceedings associated with Sexually Violent Predator, or SVP, laws). By conducting a sexual risk assessment, a forensic psychologist can outline a client’s risk and protective (mitigating) factors and, ultimately, set forth an opinion regarding the person’s risk to sexually recidivate. In addition, the forensic evaluator can set forth clinical recommendations, which may include those associated with jail diversion programming or related options.
In this program, attorney Daniel Agatino, Dr. Sarah DeMarco, and Dr. Gianni Pirelli will provide an overview of sexual risk assessments within a best practices and evidence-based framework. They will review forensic mental health assessment (FMHA) and risk assessment principles, the roles of various types of mental health clinicians in the legal process, and the procedural aspects related to sexual risk assessments and expert reports and testimony. Particularly specialized sexual risk assessments, such as those of Internet-based, non-contact offenders will also be addressed.
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