ROSAC – Risk of Sexual Abuse of Children

Structured Professional Guidelines for Assessing the Risk a Sexual Abuser Poses to a Child and Making Child Contact Decisions


by Robert J. McGrath, Heather M. Allin and Georgia F. Cumming

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See the full quote below.

See the full quote below.

The ROSAC is a structured professional guide to help professionals assess the risk a sexual abuser poses to a particular child and under what circumstances, if any, the abuser might safely be allowed contact with the child.

It is designed to be used by:

  • child protection services professionals
  • probation and parole officers
  • mental health professionals
  • victim advocates
Listen to a podcast with co-author Robert McGrath  

Typical situations in which the ROSAC may be helpful are:

  • A child protective services (CPS) agency is investigating a report that a sexual abuser is now living with a family that has children and the agency must determine the risk of sexual harm to the child and develop an intervention plan.
  • A probation officer must determine whether to grant a probationer’s request to live in a home with children. The probationer was previously convicted of committing a se
    xual offense.
  • A mental health professional, CPS agency, probation department, and victim advocate are collaborating to determine whether to reunite a family in which the father sexually abused one of his children.

WP170 - ROSACThe ROSAC is composed of 30 items that are empirically or theoretically linked to sexual reoffending, and are each coded on a 3-point scale. The items focus on key considerations about the sexual abuser, child at potential risk, and primary caregiver.

The ROSAC Manual includes a step-by-step method for helping professionals make these important risk of sexual harm decisions. The manual includes worksheets for documenting the decision making process.

Free copies of the worksheets and coding sheet

We offer a free PDF with the ROSAC Data Collection Worksheets and the Coding Sheet.

Download free PDF


Author Robert J. McGrath’s website


Full quote from Dr. Leibowitz:

The ROSAC is an indispensable research-based measure for evaluators, caseworkers, and supervisors for use in complex risk of sexual abuse [harm] cases. It is a structured decision making tool that can significantly advance the way social workers, probation officers, and other professionals think about risk assessment and sexual recidivism in their practice, such that they can effectively engage in safety planning to target known static and dynamic factors.  In Vermont, and nationally, the ROSAC is beginning to be used consistently as part of case consultation.


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