nextgenforensic

Reinventing the wheel: Testing a new CoSA-based sex offender intervention

John Vaccaro

In 1994, a small-town event catalyzed the creation of a new method of supervising sexual offenders in the community. At that time, the residents of Ontario, Canada became aware that a high risk sexual offender, who had molested multiple children, was being released with no supervisory restrictions (Canada’s equivalent of “maxing out”). This led to immense upheaval in the local community. The situation seemed irresolvable until a Mennonite pastor of a local congregation offered to supervise the offender and keep him accountable through regular meetings, checkups, and guidance. After the situation turned into a success story – the offender was never rearrested – the Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario and the Correctional Service of Canada partnered to create what is now called Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA).

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Virtuous pedophiles exist

Kelly Babchisin

It is a commonly held belief that individuals with a sexual interest in children (that is, pedophiles) are at an extremely high risk of committing (or to have already committed) a sexual offence against a child. When people hear ‘pedophiles’, most immediately think ‘child molester’, ‘predator’, or ‘sex offender’. Most overlook an important distinction: pedophiles are those who hold a sexual interest in children whereas sex offenders against children are those who have committed a sexual offence against a child. These terms are not synonymous. Indeed, a large body of research has found that not all pedophiles are sex offenders, and not all sex offenders are pedophiles (Seto, 2008). Some pedophiles only have a sexual interest in children (exclusive pedophiles), whereas other pedophiles have a sexual interest in both children and adults (nonexclusive pedophiles).

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Nextgenforensic at ATSA 2014: Ian Elliott

Ian A. Elliott

The 33rd Annual Research and Treatment Conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers – to give #ATSA2014 it’s full title – is in the books. For many, it wasn’t only an opportunity to get up to speed with the state-of-art thinking being produced in the field, but also to appreciate a little Fall warmth down in San Diego. Those of us at nextgenforensic who were present wanted to take this opportunity to make our resources available and feed back on the take-home points. We would also make readers aware that the SAJRT blog is also providing a review of the conference. This will be the first in a series of posts from the Editors where we each provide our materials and thoughts – we’ll keep you updated on these additional posts on our Twitter account. So with no further ado, here are my experiences of this year’s (excellent as ever) ATSA…

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CoSA: An inconvenient truth

Ian A. Elliott

This week I read the new (July) edition of the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. Inside was a new outcome study of the Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) re-entry program in the South East region of the United Kingdom, by Andrew Bates and colleagues. I consider myself to be a supporter of CoSA and its mission, and I think it’s an excellent program implemented by motivated, diligent, and benevolent individuals. Myself and Ian McPhail have written positively about CoSA on this very blog. Nonetheless, I have constant lingering concerns about the inconvenient truth that, as yet, there is simply not enough evidence to suggest that CoSA programs are effective in their aim to significantly reduce sexual reoffending by Core Members (the individual to whom support and accountability is provided).

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Community interventions for sex offenders: Evidence, sense, and funding

Ian V. McPhail

In the past week or so, certain professional circles (the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) and the media (here and here) have been discussing a recent announcement by the Correctional Services of Canada that funding for Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) will be cut come March 31st and eliminated completely by the Fall of this year. However, as the story unfolds, the Canadian federal minister responsible for public safety has “asked the prison service to reconsider the decision,” but fully-restored funding may not be on its way. Time will tell where the chips will fall.

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