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 Team

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

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

Katie Barr (Research Officer)

I joined the RMA as a Research Officer in 2020. Previously, I was a qualified social worker and Mental Health Officer, having worked in both Canada and Scotland.

I’ve worked primarily in areas related to mental health, sexual health, and domestic abuse, providing individual support and facilitating psychoeducational groups. I am particularly interested in participatory and qualitative forms of research.

@KatieBarrRMA     #RMADevelopment

Rebecca Wagstaff (Research Officer)

I joined the RMA in 2020, as a Research Officer.

After completing a degree in Speech and Language Therapy, I worked primarily in the third sector for a few years, before making the move to Scotland in order to complete an MSc in the Psychology of Language. Having caught the research bug, I began a PhD in 2015 and, more latterly, worked concurrently as a research assistant, with a focus on lifelong learning.

@RebeccaW_RMA     #RMADevelopment

Project Plan and Timeline

This is a significant and multi-phased project for the Development Team. The data input for the Offending Behaviour profiles, victim profiles, and psychopathy / personality disorder is done together, then the reports will follow sequentially. Following that, the under 25 study will commence.


Study Steps
Offending Behaviour Profiles
  • Data input (conclude August 2021)
  • Data screening (Aug/Sept 2021)
  • Data analysis (Sept 2021)
  • Report drafting (October 2021)
  • Final draft and design (November 2021)
  • Internal review (December 2021)
  • Publication (January 2022)
Victim Profiles
  • Data input (conclude August 2021)
  • Data screening (Aug/Sept 2022)
  • Data analysis (tbc)
  • Report drafting (tbc)
  • Final drafting, internal review, publication (tbc)
Psychopathy / Personality Disorder
  • Data input (conclude August 2021)
  • Data screening (Sept 2022)
  • Data analysis (tbc)
  • Report drafting (tbc)
  • Final drafting, internal review, publication (tbc)
Under 25 Profiles
  • Yet to commence – will follow psychopathy / personality disorder study (dates tbc).
  • Will involve – research proposal, data input, data screening, data analysis, report writing and publication and communication.

Partners and Working Groups

The following are relevant stakeholders for this project:

  • 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.

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.