Changing ‘distorted’ thoughts

CONVICTED sex offenders are made to take courses which try to change their “distorted” thoughts.

They can be put on three accredited sex offender programmes to help in their rehabilitation, run by the joint police and public protection unit, another arm of MAPPA.

There can be up to 10 registered offenders in each group and can be a mixture of those on licence from prison or those who were sentenced with community orders.

The ranges of abilities of group members are varied, as are the ages, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnic origin and cultural backgrounds of those who attend.

A MAPPA spokeswoman said: “The sex offender treatment is based on cognitive behavioural therapy, which broadly attempts to help men recognise and change the links between their distorted offence-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

“This approach intends to place the individual offender at the forefront of the management of his own re-offending risks.

“This is an approach that, for those who consider that sex offender treatment should embrace more punitive elements of treatment, might appear to contradict their expectations.

“Notwithstanding these assumptions, the Northumbria Sex Offenders Group (NSOG) treatment ethos is founded on high levels of constructive challenge with high levels of support in order to be most meaningful and effective in the reduction of repeat offending.”

She added: “Sex offender treatment works for those men who want to make it work for them, by equipping them with the tools to understand and control the risks they pose.

“For those who don’t, we need to manage and control the risks posed with more restrictive measures.”