Comparing recidivism rates of treatment responders/non-responders in a sample of 413 child molesters who had completed community-based sex offender treatment in the UK

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Analysis of psychometric data from a sample of 413 child molesters who had completed a U.K. probation-based sex offender treatment program was carried out to assess (a) the effectiveness of therapy in the short term and (b) the longer term implications of treatment in relation to sexual recidivism. It was found that 12% (51 offenders) of the sample had recidivated within 2 to 4 years. Of these recidivists, 86% (44 offenders) had been reconvicted for a sexually related offense. One hundred thirty-five offenders (33%) demonstrated a treated profile (i.e., demonstrated no offense-specific problems and few, or no, socioaffective problems at the posttreatment stage). This group was compared with a sample of offenders deemed as not responding to treatment, matched by their levels of pretreatment risk/need. It was found that a significantly smaller proportion (n = 12, 9%) of treatment responders had recidivated, compared to the treatment nonresponders (n = 20, 15%), indicating a 40% reduction in recidivism in those who had responded to treatment (effect size = .18). Matching length of treatment to the offenders’ level of pretreatment risk/need (i.e., higher risk/treatment-need offenders typically undertook longer treatment) reduced the rate of recidivism among this group to the level of recidivism observed among the lower risk/need offenders.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-49
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Publication statusPublished - 2012