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Introduction to Sex Offender Treatment Programmes and Their Risk Reduction Efficacy (From Managing High-Risk Sex Offenders in the Community: Risk Management, Treatment and Social Responsibility, P 81-104, 2010, Karen Harrison, ed. - See NCJ-230796)

NCJ Number
Sarah Brown
Date Published
24 pages
This chapter outlines the basic principles and theoretical approaches underlying sex offender treatment programs, with a focus on cognitive-behavioral programs and programs provided in England and Wales, and meta-analyses of evaluation research on sex offender treatment programs are reviewed.
England and Wales have a repertoire of treatment programs for sex offenders. Delivered in both community and custodial settings, a system of accreditation ensures that all programs have a sound underlying theoretical base and model of change that is evidence-based, as well as a structure that ensures treatment is delivered as intended. Treatment programs are matched to offenders according to risk/need and the type of sentence received. This chapter focuses on describing and reviewing the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral programs, which are the most commonly used programs in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Cognitive-behavioral programs require offenders to engage in self-analysis; the linking of thoughts, feelings, and attitudes to behaviors; and the development of skills and thought mechanisms for molding positive behaviors and avoiding targeted negative behaviors. Meta-analyses that have examined multiple evaluation studies of sex offender treatment programs, including cognitive-behavioral programs, have revealed various methodological problems and slight differences in findings; however, each evaluation has found that treated sex offenders have lower sexual, and often violent and general, recidivism rates than untreated or comparison group sex offenders. These studies provide empirical evidence of treatment effectiveness for sex offenders, albeit with significant variations across evaluation studies. This may reflect a significant variation in the impact of various programs as well as the evaluation methodologies used. 47 references