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Abstract: The Long-Term Vulnerability Model in Sexual Offender Risk Assessment

The Long-Term Vulnerability (LTV) model seeks to understand sexual offender risk in terms of the establishment of relatively enduring psychological processes. LTVs can be active or inactive at any given time, depending on whether the individual has encountered the right triggers, but, even if currently inactive, may be reactivated when relevant triggers are again experienced. This presentation describes three lines of work involved in elaborating the LTV model: situating the LTV model in a more comprehensive theoretical framework that incorporates concepts like agency, intentions and resources; increasing the reliability with which LTVs can be assessed; and examining the predictiveness of specific factors that have been proposed to operate as LTVs. Implications of these developments for risk assessment are discussed.


David Thornton, Ph.D. has developed and managed treatment services for sexual offenders both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. He is currently a psychologist in private practice in the USA and also works part time for the University of Bergen in Norway. As a researcher he has been involved with the development of actuarial risk assessment instruments and the identification of psychological risk factors.