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New ways to assess and treat female sex offenders

19 September 2016

A University of Kent study that enhanced the assessment and treatment of female sexual offenders internationally has been published in BPS Impact.

The study, led by Professor Theresa Gannon, highlighted several new gender-specific risk factors for sexual abuse that are not present in male sexual offenders. This resulted in the development of effective clinical practice training and guidelines that have been used to enhance assessment and treatment of female sexual offenders whose specific needs had not previously been identified.

Since 2010, a number of practitioner organisations worldwide (including both correctional and non-government organisations) have used Professor Gannon’s research findings to inform their training, assessment and treatment practices.

For example, the Correctional Service of Canada – one of the few worldwide correctional facilities to provide group female sexual offender treatment – incorporate Professor Gannon’s findings into their training materials for all new facilitators who work with female sexual offenders.

In a summary of research and practice in the area of female sexual offending, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC, 2011) cited Gannon and colleagues’ work as being key in understanding the differences between male and female sexual abusers. 

A more in-depth look at the study and its implications can be found here.

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