High resistivity silicon particle detectors will be used extensively in experiments at the future CERN Large Hadron Collider. The detectors will be exposed to particle fluences equivalent to ∼1014 (1 MeV neutrons)/cm2, causing significant atomic displacement damage. A model has been developed to estimate the evolution of defect concentrations and the electrical behavior of irradiated silicon detectors using Shockley–Read–Hall (SRH) semiconductor statistics. The observed increases in leakage current and doping concentration changes can be described well after 60Co-gamma irradiation but less well after fast neutron irradiation. A possible non-SRH mechanism is considered, based on the hypothesis of charge transfer between clustered divacancy defects in neutron damaged silicon detectors. This leads to a large enhancement over the SRH prediction for V2 acceptor state occupancy and carrier generation rate which may resolve the discrepancy between the model and neutron damage data. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.