Sexual offenses are a social menace and affect the public health directly. The growing instances of sexual crimes and growing numbers of sexual offenders have emerged as a major issue. The government, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies are very apprehensive regarding this issue and want this issue to be resolved as soon as possible. A number of steps, including treatment of sexual offenders, have been taken in order to improve the situation. This paper intends to discuss several treatment programs that are designed for the sexual offenders.
McHugh and Rider (1981) in his article “Treatment of sex offenders with anti-androgenic medication: conceptualization, review of treatment modalities, and preliminary findings” describe different types of sexual disorders and their treatments. According to the authors, sexual disorders are psychiatric syndromes that occurred due to: repeated fantasies of unusual sex, strong sex related cravings, and stereotypic responses. Pedophiles look for children to fulfill their abnormal urges. On the other hand, exhibitionists attract others by exposing themselves.
According to the authors, various treatments for sex disorders are behavioral therapy, medication, surgery, and psychotherapy. Paraphiliac disorder is linked with the biological system, hence can be treated by surgery or medication. Impact of etiological factors was not properly understood. The treatments of sex offenders are given based on their disorder, types of associated sexual feelings, and types of offenses committed by them. In various cases, the problem can be treated or minimized by the psychotherapy (McHugh & Rider, 1981).
Hanson et al. (2002) in their article analyzed various types of treatments available for sex offenders, and effectiveness of those treatments. The authors mentioned that providing treatments to sex offenders is not solution to the problem. It is important that the provided treatments are effective also. The study was conducted by forming two groups one group received treatments, whereas, other did not. Total 43 groups were studied under the analysis (Hanson et al., 2002). All groups provided with different types of psychological, behavioral, and clinical treatments.
Findings of the study revealed that people treated with different therapies shown the positive impact. People who are treated with cognitive behavioral therapy had shown 7.5 percent reduction in the recidivism rate as compare to the group that did not give treatment. The authors also mentioned that old types of treatments that were in practice before 1980 were not very effective as compare to present treatments (Hanson et al., 2002).
Prescott & Levenson (2010) in their study analyzed the different types of treatments available for sex offenders. The argument formed under the study is the treatment of sex offenders is not punishment. The issue of treatment of sex offenders received ethical challenges, because treatment providers are required to maintain a balance between therapeutic requirements of the clients, and the threat they create to others. The treatments provided to the sex offenders help in improving community safety, and maintaining human rights. The authors claimed that the treatment of sex disorder is not punishment, and it out to be provided in ethical manner by following code of ethics established for service providers.
Confidentiality of information is one of the major challenges, posed by the technology. It has become easier to obtain information on clients. This practice is not legal in mental health services. On the other hand, technology improved the way of delivering the therapies to the clients with full efficiency. The author also mentioned that technology sometimes made treatment as punishment, because limited confidentiality of information on treatment, and confidentiality considered as key to success of treatments (Glaser, 2010).
Mandeville-Norden & Beech (2004) in their article focused on community based treatment programs. The author mentioned about importance to provide treatment to sex offenders, and elaborated on types of treatment available in the community (Mandeville-Norden & Beech, 2004). The cognitive behavioral therapies, provided during the earlier time, were not very different from each other. Under these therapies, the therapist linked sexual desire with bad stimuli such as electric shock or bad order. The advance programs focus on specific requirements of clients. Advance therapies treat all major types of problems, for example, biological problems treated with medication, and psychological problems can be treated by using psychological therapies or cognitive-behavioral therapies.
All these studies emphasize on providing effective treatments to the sex offenders and maintaining ethics while delivering services. According to the author, these treatments help in minimizing threats, associated with these offenders. However, advance technologies are violating major ethic of these treatments by limiting the confidentiality of information.
Sexual offender treatment programs
Sexual offender treatment programs are not a punishment. These programs are made to improve the behavior of the sexual offenders and to prevent them from committing such crimes in the future. There are various Sexual offender treatment programs that include psychological, behavioral, biological, family and social programs. Technological help is taken in these treatments that are very effective and advanced. There are different types of sexual offenders. Some of these sexual offenders seek treatment voluntarily while a number of offenders refuse to receive the voluntary treatment. Several other offenders avail treatments in the jail once they are found guilty of any sexual offense or are at probation through plea bargaining.
Goals of Sexual offender treatment programs
Successful treatment of a sexual offender is the primary objective of such treatment plans. Other treatment goals are stress control, anger management, developing interpersonal skills, and preventing the sexual offender from repeating such incidents in the future. In a number of cases that sexual offenders do not hesitate from committing sexual offences even after they are freed from the jail after serving the punishment. Sexual offenders are treated in a way that helps them in improving their behavior in a way that prevents them from committing sexual crimes.
Types of treatment
The sexual offender treatment is found into various categories including biological therapies, behavioral therapies, psychoanalytical therapies, psychodynamic therapies, relapse therapies and family therapies. These therapies are very effective and used on juveniles as well as adults. Treatment programs may be used alone or in combination, if required. The treatment process involves a number of clinical interviews and a series of psychological testing are commonly used as a part of sexual offender’s treatment programs. Paper pencil tests are also an important part of this treatment program. Penile plethysmoraph is also used as a technique of assessment to assess erectile response of the offenders.
Biological therapy is used in such cases since a long time, especially in cases with a long history of such offences. Surgical castration was very commonly used in such offences in European countries, but many people oppose such steps in current civilized society. Androgens play very important role in sexual arousal and Antiandroenic medications are used in such cases to decrease the level of androgens. These medications are found to be very effective in cases of some offenders. There are some side effects of this method such as weight gain, hypertension and lethargic behavior.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
Cognitive theory is one of the most researched and widely applied theories that are used in case of sexual offenders. The mechanism of this therapy is comparatively simple and effective where offenders are taught to behave and react in certain manners in some special situations. Offenders are also taught to control their impulses, and conduct that are not appropriate. This theory affects both offenders and victims and helps them in a positive way. Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually given to the offenders with other treatment programs in order to produce better and effective results. This treatment should be practiced by well experienced and trained specialists only.
Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapies
Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapy is a psychological method of treating sexual offenders. Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic methods treat such psychological issues since a long time. These treatment methods are based on steps as individual counseling, identifying and resolving complexities of early life of the offender. Such treatments are found to be effective, but there are several instances where offenders committed sexual offences even after taking the treatment. Lack of some standard measurements is a weaker point of this method.
Sexual offenders are also part of our society, and they should be given a chance to improve their behavior. The society also has some responsibilities to bear and instead of punishing these offenders, the society should first try to improve their behavior by providing them the appropriate treatment methods. It is an established fact that the Punishment is not the only solution for every offense. There are various treatment programs that may help in improving the situation.
Family members are directly responsible for the violent behavior of a sexual offender. Every time any offender commits a crime, the family role comes into play. They have a responsibility to counsel him and also to discourage him from doing such offences. If anyone is not improving is behavior even after several sessions of counseling and treatments, he should be handed over to the police. The first step is of course to improve the behavior of the offender but in case, he is not ready to improve, the family should take appropriate action against the sexual offender in order to make the society a better place to live.
Relapse Prevention Programs
Relapse prevention program is one of very popular treatment programs for sexual offenders. This technique is based on the formulae of self management and supervision. A team of experts try to assess the reasons of the incident and then finds out the circumstances that lead the offender to commit such crime. Therapists identify several traits of the offender’s behavior and then starts counseling and improving his behavior. A proper supervision is required to prevent the offender from committing any sexual offence in the future. Such supervision usually involves police, family and the community.
Having observed the abovementioned analysis of the sexual offenders and their treatment methods, it can be concluded that sexual offenders require the treatment. Sexual offences are a major issue of concern for everybody who resides in the society and these offences must be stopped without any further delay. Since sexual offenders are also a part of our society and it is not possible to eradicate such problems by merely punishing the offenders thus some more steps, as treatment programs for sexual offenders, are required. Sexual treatments are not punishments and can be availed either voluntarily or by the imposed programs. These treatment methods are found to be effective in several cases but these programs are needed to be made more effective in order to produce better results.
Glaser, B. (2010). Sex offender programmes: New technology coping with old ethics. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 16(3) , 261-274.
Hanson, R.K., Gordon, A., Harris, A.J., Marques, J.K., Murphy, W., Quinsey, V.L., and Seto, M.C. (2002). First Report of the Collaborative Outcome Data Project on the Effectiveness of Psychological Treatment for Sex Offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 14(2) , 169-194.
Mandeville-Norden, R. & Beech, A. (2004). Community-based treatment of sex offenders. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 10(2) .
McHugh, p., & Rider, M. (1981). Treatment of sex offenders with antiandrogenic medication: conceptualization, review of treatment modalities, and preliminary findings. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 138(5) , 601-607.
Prescott, D.S. & Levenson, J.S. (2010). Sex offender treatment is not punishment. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 16(3) , 275-285.