Risk and Resilience Lab

Strategies to Reduce Violence and Offending

Research


Our work focuses on violence and offending, particularly with adolescents. We:

Develop and evaluate risk assessment tools
Develop approaches to guide risk management and treatment planning
Help agencies implement evidence-based practices
Investigate strengths that protect adolescents


Risk Assessment

Mental health professionals are often asked to evaluate whether a person poses a risk for future violence. These risk assessments carry high stakes for public safety and defendants' liberty. To help guide these decisions, researchers have developed violence risk assessment tools.

In our lab, we test if these tools work. We also develop risk tools that are treatment-oriented, strength-based, and developmentally-informed.

Example publications:

  • Viljoen, J. L., Mordell, S., & Beneteau, J. L. (2012). Prediction of adolescent sexual reoffending: A meta-analysis of the J-SOAP-II, ERASOR, J-SORRAT-II, and Static-99. Law and Human Behavior, 36(5), 423-438. doi:10.1037/h0093938
  • Viljoen, J. L., Gray, A. L., Shaffer, C., Bhanwer, A., Tafreshi, D., & Douglas, K. S. (2017). Does reassessment of risk improve predictions? A framework and examination of the SAVRY and YLS/CMI. Psychological Assessment, 29(9), 1096-1110. doi:10.1037/pas0000402
  • Viljoen, J. L., Bhanwer, A. K., Shaffer, C. S., & Douglas, K. S. (2018). Assessing protective factors for adolescent offending: A conceptually-informed examination of the SAVRY and YLS/CMI. Assessment. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191118768435
  • Viljoen, J. L., McLachlan, K., & Vincent, G. (2010). Assessing violence risk and psychopathy in adolescent and adult offenders: A survey of clinical practices. Assessment, 17(3), 377–395. doi:10.1177/1073191109359587
Read more...
Risk Reduction and Treatment

Does the use of risk assessment tools reduce rates of violence? Does it minimize unnecessary use of incarceration? Or conversely, does it exacerbate racial and ethnic biases?

In our lab, we are studying these questions. We are also developing strategies, such as treatment planning tools, to help strengthen links between risk assessments and treatment.

Example publications:

  • Viljoen, J. L., Cochrane, D. M., & Jonnson, M. R. (2018). Do risk assessment tools help manage and reduce risk of violence and reoffending? A systematic review. Law and Human Behavior, 42(3), 181–214. doi:10.1037/lhb0000280
  • Viljoen, J. L., Jonnson, M. R., Cochrane, D. M., Vargen, L., & Vincent, G. M. (in press). Impact of risk assessment instruments on rates of pretrial detention, post-conviction placements, and release: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Law and Human Behavior.
  • Viljoen, J. L., Shaffer, C. S., Muir, N. M., Cochrane, D. M., & Brodersen, E. (2019). Improving case plans and interventions for adolescents on probation: The implementation of the SAVRY and a structured case planning form. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0093854818799379
  • Viljoen, J. L., Gray, A. L., Shaffer, C., Latzman, N., Scalora, M., & Ullman, D. (2017). Changes in J-SOAP-II and SAVRY scores over the course of residential, cognitive- behavioral treatment for adolescent sexual offending. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 29(4), 342-374. doi:10.1177/1079063215595404
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Diversity and Social Justice

Persons of color and other minorities experience biases and inequities in the justice system. In our lab, we are working to help create change. Many of these projects are led by graduate students.

For instance, Nicole Muir is Metis/Anishawbe PhD student whose work focuses on culturally- informed practices for Indigenous youth. Melissa Jonnson is leading projects to better understand the experiences of sexual and gender minority youth within the justice system.

We value the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds and students who have an interest in studying diversity.

Example publications:

  • Jonnson, M. R., Bird, B. M., Li, S. M. Y., Viljoen, J. L. (2019). The prevalence of sexual and gender minority youth in the justice system: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0093854819848803
  • Muir, N. M., Viljoen, J. L., & Shaffer, C. S. (2018, June). Predictive validity of the SAVRY with Indigenous females and males in Canada. Paper presented at the International Association for Forensic Mental Health Services 18 th Annual Conference, Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Viljoen, J. L., Jonnson, M. R., Cochrane, D. M., Vargen, L., & Vincent, G. M. (in press). Impact of risk assessment instruments on rates of pretrial detention, post-conviction placements, and release: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Law and Human Behavior.
Read more...
Graduate Student Research

Some of the most exciting research in our lab is conducted by graduate students.

Catherine Shaffer, MA is studying dating violence in adolescents, including strategies to assess risk of violence. Nicole Muir, MA is examining the role of trauma in explaining offenses in youth who are Indigenous through using a culturally informed lens. Aisha Christiansen, MA is investigating factors that protect against offending and how to measure them. Melissa Jonnson, MA is exploring the issues faced by sexual and gender minority youth in the justice system. Dana Cochrane, BA Hon is studying the intersection between mental health and adolescent offending, with a focus on depression.

Example publications:

  • Shaffer, C. S., Adjei, J., Viljoen, J. L., Douglas, K. S., & Saewyc, E. M. (2018). Ten-year trends in physical dating victimization among adolescent boys and girls in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0886260518788367
  • Bhanwer, A., Viljoen, J. L., Shaffer, C. S., Douglas, K. S. (2018). The Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits: Reliability, convergent validity, and predictive validity for reoffending in adolescents on probation. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health Services. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/14999013.2018.1525779
  • Jonnson, M. R., Bird, B. M., Li, S. M. Y., Viljoen, J. L. (2019). The prevalence of sexual and gender minority youth in the justice system: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0093854819848803
Read more...
START:AV

The START:Adolescent Version is a risk assessment tool designed to predict adolescent's risks of harm to others (e.g., violence, offending) and risks of being harmed (e.g., victimization, suicide).

Overview
User Guide
Knowledge Guide

ARROW

The Adolescent Risk Reduction and Resilient Outcomes Work-Plan (ARROW) is a risk management and intervention-planning tool for adolescents. It provides a structured template and resources for bridging risk assessments to evidence-based interventions.

Overview

Our lab


Dr. Viljoen
Dr. Jodi Viljoen is an Associate Professor of Clinical and Law-Forensic Psychology and the Associate Director of the Institute for the Reduction of Youth Violence. She has published over 50 articles and chapters, and made over 150 presentations. Dr. Viljoen received the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Contributions.
Curriculum Vitae

Andrew Gray, M.A., B.S.T.
Andrew's research focuses on risk assessment, dynamic change, and statistics. He is a Ph.D. student in Clinical and Forensic Psychology, and holds a SSHRC Doctoral Award.
Curriculum Vitae
Catherine Shaffer, M.A.
Catherine's research focuses on risk assessment, violence, and psychopathy. She is Ph.D. student in Law and Forensic Psychology, and holds a SSHRC Doctoral Award.
Curriculum Vitae
Nicole M. Muir M.A., B.Ed
Nicole's research focuses on Indigenous youth, trauma, and foster care. She is a Ph.D. Student in Law and Forensic Psychology, and holds a SSHRC Doctoral Award.
Curriculum Vitae
Aisha Christiansen, M.A.
Aisha's research focuses on desistance from adolescent offending, protective factors, and callous-unemotional traits. She is a Ph.D. student in Clinical Forensic Psychology and holds a SSHRC Doctoral Award.
Curriculum Vitae
Melissa Jonnson, M.A.
Melissa's research focuses on violence, victimization, and gender. She is a Ph.D. student in Clinical and Forensic Psychology, and holds a SSHRC Masters Award.
Curriculum Vitae
Dana Cochrane, B.A. Hon.
Dana's research interests include anxiety and depression in the context of externalizing behaviours in youth and children. She is an MA student in Child Clinical Psychology, and holds a SSHRC MA Award.
Curriculum Vitae

Contact Us


Adolescent Risk and Resilience Lab
Phone
778 782-4362
Address
RCB 5246, 8888 University Drive
Dept. of Psychology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6
Email
Jodi Viljoen (jviljoen@sfu.ca), Director