The perceived impact of treatment on child sex offenders: The perpetrator's perspective

George B. Thomson (1992)

Child sexual assault has emerged from the shadows over the past decade as a major national public health and safety issue. Reports of the incidence of child sexual assault range from hundreds of thousands to millions annually. Knowledge about the psychology of the perpetrators of these crimes is beginning to provide a solid and informed basis for their treatment. In the present exploratory study, 10 child sex offenders who had completed mandated treatment for their offending behavior were interviewed, using a semistructured narrative format. The central focus of the questioning was to elicit their views on what factors, both related to and apart from their treatment, generally helped, and specifically aided them in not reoffending. The purpose of the study was to explore treatment effectiveness with child sex offenders from their perspective and highlight particular themes or patterns that emerged. The preliminary findings suggested a view of effective treatment that was focused upon external (social) factors and internal (intrapsychic/cognitive) factors.