Child sexual abuse and various state institutions’ failures to prevent such abuse have been subject to heightened public interest in recent times. If the ensuing calls for a comprehensive reassessment of our ability to best protect children are to be met, this process of critical scrutiny should include asking uncomfortable questions about the response that convicted sexual offenders receive in the community. This is a matter in which the probation services are well placed to make a contribution.
This paper reviews the literature on total and partial denial in sex offenders, considering the prevalence of denial, some explanations for the motives underpinning denial, and the research evidence examining the relationship between denial and the risk of sexual recidivism. The implications of the findings for treatment, and the dilemmas posed for ethical and professional practice, are discussed.
Although there is a substantial body of work on desistance from crime in general, comparatively little is known about desistance from sexual crime. The broad aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the research methodology and preliminary findings from a recent empirical study on desistance from sexual offending conducted by the authors.1 Such findings have potentially important implications for policy and practice concerning sex offender risk assessment, treatment and management.
Book review: The Poetics of Crime: Understanding and Researching Crime and Deviance through Creative Sources
This piece is a response to Jackie Craissati’s article ‘Should we worry about sex offenders who deny their offences?’ Craissati takes the view that current practices should be more reflective of the current research and evidence relating that there is a lack of association between denial and increased risk of sexual recidivism. However, through exploring these points, she recognises that the research is unequivocal, and that there are moral and ethical dilemmas faced by practitioners in attempting to adopt such an approach to treatment, risk assessment and management. This article seeks to further explore the dilemmas faced by practitioners, the role of ‘responsibilisation’ and alternative ways of working with total denial.