This page contains up-to-date information on our 2021-22 Strategic Objective OLR Offending Behaviour. Find out who and how to contact us, get progress updates and more below.

Objective and Outcome

This objective is to produce a series of research to better understand the pattern, nature and seriousness of OLR offending behaviour at the point of sentencing.  This collection of research projects will target a number of key areas –

  • Improving understanding of OLR offending behaviour at the point of assessment for the sentence. Including exploring index offending, previous offending and allegations.
  • Enhancing understanding of the characteristics of the victims of offences committed by individuals who received an OLR
  • Contributing to thinking around the prevalence of psychopathy and personality disorder within the OLR population
  • Exploring the profile of those under the age of 25 at the point of receiving an OLR.  Including considering offence characteristics, childhood factors and learning and education.

The aim of these research projects are to provide a balanced observation of the OLR as a sentence and will primarily inform discussions around policy approach and service provision.

For those under the age of 25, this research will inform advice to Ministers on the OLR for young people. In 2018 the RMA provided Ministerial advice in relation to the presumption against a consideration of an OLR for young people under the age of 21. The RMA are currently reviewing our initial advice coinciding with the work of justice partners including the Scottish Sentencing Council.

Additionally this research will contribute to RMA’s understanding regarding the evaluation of Risk Management Plans and Annual Implementation Reports. These processes are designed to ensure measures taken to manage and minimise the risk of the individual with an OLR are being implemented effectively, and to allow the lead authority to recognise progression of the individual. Gaining a better understanding of the profile of individuals receiving an OLR will begin to enhance understanding of the types of service provision that are necessary to meet the needs of this population.  It will form the foundation of the future research projects that follow these needs through the OLR sentence.

It is hoped that these significant research papers on OLR Behaviour will raise the profile of RMA research activities within the justice sector.  At the RMA we advocate and ethical and evidence-based approach to risk assessment and management. We undertake and publish research such as this to ensure our Standards and Guidelines remain evidence-based, and to ensure current risk practice is in line with the latest research.

Project Leads

The OLR Offending Behaviour objective is a Strategic Development objective led by our Head of Development and Development Lead. Find out more about us, and how you can get in touch below.

Geoff Tordzro-Taylor (Head of Development)

I’ve worked in care, mental health and prison settings and qualified as a Chartered Psychologist and Registered Forensic Psychologist in 2019. When I first joined the RMA in 2017 I worked on training initiatives and standards and guidelines.  More recently I’ve moved into senior management where I’ve managed OLR functions, and supported agencies with risk assessment and management.  As Head of Development I have strategic responsibility for research, development and evaluation functions. I enjoy translating current thinking around risk assessment, formulation and management into research projects, approaches to assessment, and producing education and training initiatives.

@GTayRMA     #RMADevelopment

Rachel Webb (Development Lead)

I joined the RMA in 2015 as an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) Case Worker after graduating with an MSc in Forensic Psychology. I have worked across the Delivery and Development Team and am now in the role of Risk Practice Lead (Development). Prior to joining the RMA, I worked in residential and secure care. I have published work on the Order for Lifelong Restriction, the use of LS/CMI in Scotland and Internet Offending. I have also published research that explores trauma, PTSD symptoms and aggression amongst looked after young people. As part of a recent voluntary role, I contributed to research examining body image amongst young women in Scotland.

@RachelWebbRMA     #RMADevelopment

Project Plan and Timeline

This is a significant and multi-phased project for the Development Team.

Study Steps
Offending Behaviour Profiles
  • Data input (approx. conclusion May/June 2021)
  • Data screening (1 week – May/June 2021)
  • Data analysis (2-4 weeks – June/July 2021)
  • Report Writing (4 weeks – July/August 2021)
  • Publication (August 2021)
Victim Profiles
  • Data input (approx. conclusion May/June 2021)
  • Data screening (1 week – May/June 2021)
  • Data analysis (October 2021)
  • Report Writing (November 2021)
  • Publication (November/December 2021)
Psychopathy / Personality Disorder
  • Research proposal and ethics (approx. June 2021)
  • Data input (approx. conclusion May/June 2021)
  • Data analysis (June/July 2021)
  • Report Writing (August 2021)
  • Publication (September/October 2021)
Under 25 Profiles
  • Research proposal (December 2021)
  • Data input (commence early 2022)
  • Analysis and report (March 2022)

Partners and Working Groups

For this project we are working with a range of external stakeholders. Partners include:

  • Scottish Government
  • Forensic Network
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Social Work Scotland
  • Victims Taskforce

Evidence Base

All research for this project is drawn from Risk Assessment Reports (RARs).

A RAR is a report prepared by Accredited Assessors on the risk the offender being at liberty presents to the safety of the public. In preparing the RAR the assessor is required to have regard to the RMA Standards and Guidelines for Risk Assessment.

Progress Updates

This strategic objective is underway, with the Research Proposal for OLR Offending Behaviour Profiles approved in 2021. The Development team have proceeded to develop a coding framework and database, and data input is currently ongoing.

The Research proposal is currently in draft stage for the Victim Profiles study, and the team are preparing ethics documentation for the Psychopathy / Personality Disorder study.

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