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Current issues in the treatment of sexual offenders

By Caroline June Robertson


This thesis investigates the debate around sex offender treatment efficacy. Numerous methods are utilised to explore this topic, including a meta-analysis (N =15,931), empirical research (N =322) and a single case study. Chapter 1 reviews the efficacy of sex offender treatment in relation to study design, treatment type, and treatment setting. Results indicate a positive effect of treatment in reducing both sexual and general recidivism for treated versus untreated offenders. However, treatment effects varied greatly according to the study design used, with no significant effect of treatment found for randomised controlled trials. Within Chapter 2, survival analysis and logistic regression are used to examine the impact of treatment dose (‘Risk Principle’) on reconviction and within-treatment change. Results indicate that whilst controlling for Risk Matrix 2000 (Thornton, Mann, Webster, Blud, Travers, Friendship & Erikson, 2003) classification, treatment dose does not influence treatment outcome. The results are discussed in light of the need to consider the way that sexual offenders interact with the amount of treatment received. Chapter 3 uses a single case design to explore assessment and low-dose intervention with an internet offender. The case study explores practice based issues, including the difficulty in applying pre-existing knowledge of contact sexual offenders to internet offenders. Chapter 4 provides a critique of Risk Matrix 2000 (Thornton et al., 2003). Chapter 5 discusses the practical and theoretical implications of this thesis, explores limitations of the thesis, and provides recommendations for future research

Topics: BF Psychology, HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Year: 2010
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