Sex offender recidivism in Australia

Can we reduce the risk of sex offenders reoffending?

Through partnerships with every correctional services agency in Australia, this project will contribute to the reduction of overall sexual offence recidivism.

We aim to do this by assessing the predictive validity of established and alternative risk assessment tools for Indigenous and non-Indigenous sex offenders.

There is a clear need for cross-jurisdictional research with sex offenders to determine the validity of risk assessment (actuarial) tools in Australia; examine additional culturally relevant risk factors; and to examine the implications of this research for recidivism prediction, and for sex offender management.

Our project’s lead investigator is Adjunct Associate Professor Frank Morgan, from UWA’s School of Population and Global Health. 

Professor Morgan’s research focuses on the distribution of victimisation, reoffending risk and the accuracy of prediction, the role of opportunity in generating crime patterns and trends, and crime prevention and criminal justice policy.

The project proposes to develop a national sex offender recidivism database as a basis for this and future research.

Through our study, we are asking three main questions:

  • Are established actuarial risk tools, such as the Static-99/R, valid for use with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous sex offenders and are there inter-jurisdictional differences in the validity of these instruments?
  • What culturally valid methods and tools can be used to examine reoffending risk in Indigenous sex offenders?
  • How do rates and patterns of recidivism vary systematically according to risk and protective factors, and how can we use knowledge about risk and recidivism to develop sex offender policy in Australia?

So far this project has received more than $870,000 in funding from the ARC Linkage Project and partner investigators.


We are partnering with a number of different universities for this research, including the University of Tasmania, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University of Technology and Griffith University.

The corrective and judicial services we are working with include:

  • Queensland Corrective Services
  • Northern Territory Correctional Services
  • Western Australian Department of Justice
  • Department of Correctional Services, South Australia
  • Corrective Services New South Wales
  • Australian Capital Territory Corrective Services
  • Tasmanian Department of Justice
  • Corrections Victoria, Department of Justice and Regulation

Contact Adjunct Professor Frank Morgan