Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Charity Calls For Better Services For Children Who Commit Sexual Abuse

From the BBC:

Services to help children who have committed sexual abuse are underdeveloped in Wales, the children's charity NSPCC claims. It is calling on the Welsh Assembly Government to improve services to those children and young people who display sexually harmful behaviour.

The charity claims 25% of sexual abuse is committed by children.

These services are important, and not just in Wales, because they can help children who may have learned how to be an offender from being the victim of another sex offender. However, any services directed at offenders needs to be aware that sex offenders can and do lie about having been victims of sexual abuse prior to becoming sex offenders.

From the Rochester Post Bulletin:

Lying is rare, said Nancy Reuvers, supervisor of child/family services for Dodge County. [...]

Author and psychologist Anne Salter, however, said many people convicted of sexual abuse do lie. In her book "Predators Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders," she said a study of much of the data about numbers of abusers who were abused are based on self reporting.

One test of convicted offenders asked if they had been abused. Half of the offenders were told they would have to take polygraph tests afterward.

Of those who didn't have to take a polygraph test, an average of 64.3 percent said they were abused; of those told they would be tested, 30.3 percent said they were abused.
If a child sex offender successfully cons those trying to provide offender treatment about his or her history then that treatment will have been compromised and the offender may learn how to be a better liar and a better manipulator -- of future victims and of the criminal justice system.

Even if most children who commit sexual abuse were never victims of sexual abuse themselves effective services are still important. Early and effective prevention is key to reducing the rates of attempted sexual abuse. It's better to help offenders learn healthy behaviors quickly rather than doing nothing with offenders until they have hurt more victims and are firmly entrenched in their rationalizations.

With all the debate about sex education, very little of it addresses ethical and legal boundaries.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:55 AM   1 comments links to this post


At July 06, 2008 1:22 AM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

Personally, I am not convinced that a treatment program designed to instill empathy for future victims and reduce rape myths even needs to be dependent upon knowing that the abuser himself was abused.

Yes, the abuser may have internalized some rape myths during his own abuse, but those myths will be dealt with during treatment. What I think these folks are saying is that they are using his alleged past history as some sort of mitigating excuse during his treatment. In other words, diminished responsibility.

Lots of people have been abused, and they don't go on to become abusers themselves. If anything, the jerk should have MORE empathy. But he doesn't, and so let 'em rot.


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