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Why do sexual offenders refuse treatment?

Ruth E. Mann, Stephen D. Webster, Helen C. Wakeling & Helen Keylock
Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice
Volume 19, Issue 2, 2013


Theories of offender motivation for treatment have proposed that external factors may be as important as internal factors in creating a state of readiness for treatment. This paper reports an exploratory study of the barriers to treatment for incarcerated sexual offenders. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of interview and questionnaire data from treatment refusers and accepters suggested that refusers were less aware of the effectiveness of treatment, reported seeing negative side effects of treatment in others and felt they had a higher social status in prison which could be damaged by attending treatment. While this study does not demonstrate a causal link between these experiences and the decision to refuse treatment, it seems reasonable to suggest that take-up of treatment could be increased by more sustained efforts to build relationships with treatment refusers and by the provision of accessible information about treatment and its potential benefits.



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