APPENDIX A: Risk factors for offending/recidivism by females


Similar to males

Different/Unique for females

Not predictive

Assess also

Alder & Bazemore (1979)



  • History of drug dependency
  • Number of prior incarcerations



Andrews & Bonta (2003)

No specific research on females

[offending and recidivism]

Big 8:

  • Anti-social attitudes
  • Anti-social associates
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Anti-social personality pattern
  • Problematic circumstances at home
  • Problematic circumstances at school or work
  • Problematic use of leisure/recreational time
  • Substance abuse


  • Importance of school/work
  • Personal stress
  • Non-criminogenic interpersonal targets

Benda (2005)

300 male and female graduates USA boot camp



  • Childhood and recent sexual and physical abuse
  • Adverse feelings
  • Living with a criminal partner
  • Drug use

Protective = life transitions; forming a family with a caring partner


  • Attachment
  • Relationships

Bonta, Pang, & Wallace-Capretta (1995)

173 sentenced + conditionally released females


  • Many risk factors equal
  • (prior criminal history, certain offence types, sentence length)
  • Drug/narcotic infraction, life imprisonment, full parole inversely related to recidivism
  • Unarmed robbery
  • Single-parent mothers
  • Illegal sources of income
  • Depending on welfare
  • History of physical abuse as adult
  • History of self injury
  • Violence toward staff
  • Number of incidents in prison
  • History of juvenile delinquency
  • Weapon
  • Offence with associate
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

  Farrington & Painter (2004)

Brothers and sisters of males in Cambridge study in Delinquent Development


  • Low family income
  • Large family size
  • Attending a high delinquency rate school
  • Convicted father
  • Convicted mother
  • Delinquent sibling
  • Parental conflict
  • Separation from a parent
  • Harsh or erratic parental discipline

Poor parental supervision

  More strongly for sisters:
  • Low social class
  • Low family income
  • Poor housing
  • Low praise by parents
  • Harsh or erratic discipline
  • Parental conflict
  • Low parental interest in education
  • Low parental interest in the children

More strongly for brothers:

  • Nervous fathers and mothers
  • Poorly educated fathers and mothers
  Family Factors

  Loucks & Zamble (1999, 2000)

100 Canadian federally sentenced females (serious female offenders)


  • Considerable similarities e.g. age at first arrest
  • Psychopathy
  • Measures of personality and current functioning
  • Trauma
  • Depression
  • Victimisation

  Moth & Hudson (1999)

Literature review

  • Younger age at admission to prison
  • Younger age at first conviction
  • Younger age at time of interview
  • Previous drug conviction
  • History of violence towards staff
  • Number of incidents towards prison staff
  • History of physical abuse as an adult
  • History of self injury
  • History of psychiatric hospitalisation
  • Prior suicide attempts
  • History of early childhood disruption by adoption, fostering or institutionalisation

  Stuart & Brice-Baker (2004)

Analysis of available theoretical and empirical data.

Study of 60 imprisoned females.


  • Age (but: some older women are first time offenders i.e., not a continuation of pattern)
  • Arrests while under legal supervision
  • Offence type i.e. drug and property offences
  • Age of first imprisonment
  • Not looking forward to release

APPENDIX B: Risk factors for violent re-offending by females


Similar to males

Different/Unique for females 

 Not predictive

 Assess also

Cale & Lilienfeld (2002)

Review of empirical literature on psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder

  • Similar structure of psychopathy
  • Psychopathy and anti-social personality disorder less prevalent

Grann (2000)

European study of 36 matched pairs of female and male violent offenders

Majority of PCL-R items not different between genders except:

  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Promiscuous sexual behaviour

Hare (2003)

Standard PCL-R scores have same meaning with respect to construct of psychopathy across groups and settings


Jackson, Rogers, Newmann, & Lambert (2002)

119 female inmates




  • Lower prevalence of psychopathy
  • Be circumspect in using psychopathy for risk assessment
  • 3 factor model captures better psychopathy dimensions in females
  • Lack of emotional range and empathy (callousness, lack of remorse, shallow affect)

Kennealy, Hicks, & Patrick (2005)

226 female inmates ??? USA


Two factor and four facet models of PCL-R valid and reliable      

Loucks & Zamble (2000)

  • Psychopathy predicts general offending, violent behaviour and prison maladjustment
  • Measures of personality and current functioning
  • Pre-adolescent sexual abuse
  • PCL-R Factor 1 scores as closely related to criminal behaviour as factor 2 scores
  • Factor 2 more associated with violence

Nicholls, Ogloff, & Douglas (2004)

268 involuntary hospitalised male and female psychiatric patients


  • Similar scores on HCR-20 upon discharge
  • Psychopathy moderate to strong relationship with community and institutional violence
  • Lower score on subscales and total score on HCR-20 at admission
  • Use multiple tools for risk assessment
  • Utility of risk measures uncertain
  • Psychopathy not predictive for physical violence
  • HCR-20 and PCL:SV moderate to strong predictive accuracy

Odgers, Moretti, & Reppucci (2005)

Reviewed empirical data regarding violent adolescent girls

  • Anti-social peers
  • Academic problems
  • Anti-social parental behaviour
  • Exposure to sexual abuse
  • Psychiatric co-morbidity (depression)
  • Threat to interpersonal relationships
  • Insecure attachment
  • Type, severity, duration of abuse
  • Relationship with perpetrator
  • Availability of support
  • Co-morbid disorders

Putkonen, Komulainen, Virkkunen, Eronen, & L??nnqvist (2003)

Homicidal female offenders with personality and psychotic disorders



  • Re-offend within 2 years of index offence
  • Criminal activity before index offence
  • Personality disorders
  • Young
  • Substance addiction

Decreased risk: psychotic disorders


Quinsey, Harris, Rice, & Cormier (1999)

Actuarial tool for male forensic population

      Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) not tested on ability to predict violent recidivism among female offenders. One study proposes further research.   

Richards, Casey, & Lucente (2003)

404 incarcerated female substance abusers

  • PCL-R Factor 1 related to increased risk of recidivism after treatment and release
  • Psychopathy scores strongly related to recidivism following community release
  • Psychopathy scores associated with institutional rule violations, treatment non-compliance, avoidance of urine analysis, general and violent prison misconduct

Rogers, Salekin, Hill, Sewell, Murdock, & Newman (2000)

PCL:SV unanalysed data from:

103 female offenders (Salekin, 1997)

150 male forensic patients (Hill, 1996)

120 male adolescent offenders (Murdoch & Rogers, 1997)



 PCL:SV subcriteria

  • Fraud artist or conman (sic)
  • No capacity for guilt ??? no conscience
  • Little emotion in regard to actions

Protective (reversed):

  • Often physically abusive
  • Outbursts are short-lived
  • No realistic long-term plans or commitments
  • Lived day-to-day
  • Not thinking of the future

Salekin, Rogers, Ustad, & Uwell (1998)

78 female inmates



  • Psychopathy moderately predicts recidivism
  • Psychopathy modest to poor predictor of recidivism related to classification accuracy
  • PCL-R Factor 1 criteria appropriately predict recidivism; not the behavioural criteria. Different factor structure.
  • Caution!
  • Higher co-morbidity (depression, anxiety)

Strand & Belfrage (2001)

Violent mentally ill men (85) and women (63) retrospectively assessed

  • Few significant differences on items, subscale and total scores of HCR-20 and PCL:SV
  • HCR-20 useful to assess inpatient violence for this group
  • More severe violence in community and other patients
  • Lower scores on ???previous??? violence but less serious yet same frequency
  • More inpatient violence towards staff or self
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Strong correlation self-destructive behaviour and inpatient violence

Vitale, Smith, Brinkley, & Newman (2002)

528 adult, non-psychotic incarcerated women Caucasian and African-American

PCL-R reliable and valid, also across race

  • Lower prevalence of psychopathy
  • Different factor structure of psychopathy
  • Relation between PCL-scores and anxiety, negative affectivity and low intelligence
  • Aetiology?

Weizman-Henelius, Viemer??, & Eronen (2004)

61 violent female offenders

   Violent offenders (compared to non-offenders):
  • Adverse experiences in childhood and adulthood
  • Problems in family of origin
  • Psychiatric care
  • Substance abuse
  • Personality disorders
  • Cognitive deficits
  • History of attempted suicide
  • Problematic relationship year prior to index offence

Repeat violent offenders (compared to first time offenders):

  • Younger age first violent offence
  • Victims less emotionally close
  • History of non-violent crimes
  • Substance abuse!
  • Anti-social personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Witnessed violence in family of origin
  • Parents divorced
  • Lived in foster homes more

Wong & Gordon (1999)

Structured guidelines for risk of violent recidivism for institutionalised forensic males

Violence Risk Scale (VRS) gender and race neutral

No studies to support this


APPENDIX C: Risk factors for sexual re-offending by females

Risk Factors

Similar to Males

Different/Unique to Females


Beech, Fisher, & Thornton (2003)

Overview of actuarial and clinical assessment tools

  • Ability to resist pressure from male co-offender
  • Role as caretaker of children

Nathan & Ward (2001, 2002)

Overview of important factors and issues based on literature review

Study of 12 female sex offenders

Some similarities in profile
  • Self-harm prior to or after offence or potential for self-harm
  • Emotional attachment to victim
  • Ability to express rage and rejection
  • Chronicity of rage and rejection
  • Homosexual orientation
  • Intellectual deficits
  • Deviant arousal and fantasies
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Use of force
  • Anti-social tendencies
  • Psychological dysfunction
  • Motives
  • Specific needs met by offence
  • What problem did offending solve


Grayston & De Luca (1999)

Review of existing clinical and empirical literature on female sex offenders (profiles)


Profile of female sex offenders

  • Passive or active offending
  • History of abuse as child, adolescent, adult
  • Mental health problems (depression, personality disorder, substance abuse)
  • Interpersonal/marital problems
  • Coping skills re daily demands
  • Perception and response to child stimuli
  • Other types of child maltreatment

Hunter & Mathews, 1997 (literature review)

Mathew, Hunter, & Vuz, 1997

(67 juvenile female sex offenders compared to 70 juvenile male sex offenders)

Vick, McRoy, & Mathews, 2002

(literature review and survey of mental health providers)

Profile of juvenile female sex offenders compared to juvenile male sex offenders


  • Use of force
  • Victims of both genders
  • Younger children

Profile of female juvenile sex offenders



Kalders, Inkster, & Britt (1997)

25 New Zealand females convicted between 1978 and 1994

In-depth study of profile of 8 offenders


Profile of New Zealand female sex offenders

  • Personality
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Emotional functioning
  • nterpersonal skills
  • Sexual attitudes, beliefs and behaviour
  • Abuse/trauma factors

Williams & Nicholaichuk (2001)

Follow up of 61 female sex offenders

  • Extra familial victims
  • Committed offence alone
  • Victims of both genders
  • Disordered

Other studies, such as Atkinson (2000, 19 Canadian female sex offenders), Lewis & Stanley (2000, retrospective chart review of 15 female sex offenders in psychiatric hospital) and Vandiver & Walker (2002, 40 registered female sex offenders in Arkansas in 1999) have focused on profile data rather than on risk factors for recidivism.

Note that the Static-AS cannot be used for female sexual offenders.