Assessing suspected child molesters

Judith V. Becker, Vernon L. Quinsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Clinical evaluations can play a useful role in making a variety of dispositional decisions concerning child molesters provided they are done carefully, using relevant techniques, and their limitations are clearly understood. Assessment instruments and techniques that can differentiate child molesters from other persons, that are related to treatment planning, and that predict the commission of future sexual offending are the most useful. Sex offense history and phallometric assessments are useful in planning treatment and supervision programs and in assessing risk. The Psychopathy Checklist is also a strong predictor of sexual recidivism but its usefulness in treatment planning is equivocal. Measures of attitudes and beliefs that support child molestation are suitable for designing treatment programs but their prognostic significance remains to be established. More general measures of personality and psychopathology have not been established as predictors of recidivism but can be used to address collateral clinical issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993


  • Assessment
  • Child molesters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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