Sex Offender Treatment


The root causes—and effects—of sexual abuse are wide-ranging and complex. The trauma of sexual abuse causes deeper psychological wounds in the victim than those resulting from other criminal acts. More often than not, sexual offenders perpetrate their crimes on someone known to them. In a 2015 report, the Australian Institute of Family Studies(AIFS) concluded that “It is clear that the individual perpetrator is part of a much larger set of relationships than the one between themselves and their victim.” Finding successful, cost-effective rehabilitative treatment for sex offenders continues to be an elusive goal for therapeutic practitioners.

As you learned in the unit readings, the earliest explanations for sexual abuse originated from Freud’s psychoanalytic theories. Research has shown that among the reasons why offenders develop a sexual psychopathy are the influence of learning, neurological impairments, cognitive biases, attachment disorders, difficulties with intimacy, and anger.


For this discussion, address the following:

If it is determined that a particular offender’s attitudes and values disinhibit and maintain sexual offending behavior, which of the treatment strategies mentioned in unit readings is most appropriate? Why?

  • Recommend a treatment strategy for a sexual offender whose attitudes and values disinhibit and serve to maintain sexual offending behavior.
  • Explain why you selected this strategy. Cite studies or research that support your choice.
  • Predict best case/worst case treatment outcomes for the offender.
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