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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay discusses various treatments for sexual offenders and their success in reducing reoffending. Overall, research reveals a positive treatment effect that indicates up to 25 per cent less recidivism in treatment versus control groups. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, and programs based on the Risk–Need–Responsivity model have the strongest evidence base, although the studies and findings are heterogeneous and outcomes vary depending on many factors. Most promising are programs that involve treatment in the community and in forensic hospitals, delivered in a partly individualized mode, implemented with sound integrity, targeting medium- to high-risk offenders, addressing young individuals, and being evaluated in well-documented small studies. In contrast, programs in prisons, delivered merely in a group format, including low-risk offenders, and evaluations in large samples show smaller or no effects. Recent developments aim to modernize and widen standard programs toward more differentiated interventions, but more sound evaluation research is needed.

Keywords: intervention, recidivism, risk, sexual offender, treatment

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