The Te Piriti Special Treatment Unit for child sex offenders at Auckland Prison is marking its 15th anniversary on 2 September 2009.
Te Piriti Principal Psychologist Jim van Rensburg says the unit provides a treatment programme for male sex offenders in order to reduce sexual re-offending against children.
“Te Piriti is a world class provider of treatment programmes for child sex offenders. It’s also unique because it provides a rehabilitative programme combining both tikanga Māori and Western psychology.”
Jim says the 60 bed facility has a proven track record of successfully treating both Maori and non-Maori men who have committed sexual offences against children and to help them avoid all forms of re-offending.
“The Te Piriti programme aims at reducing re-offending in several ways. The core treatment programme addresses factors that led to the offending as well as future risk factors. In addition, the men are encouraged and rewarded for spending their time in the unit in a constructive and balanced manner. In that way they are being prepared to successfully reintegrate in society.”
A strong focus is placed on providing a therapeutic environment within a tikanga Maori framework, which includes a range of restorative activities to increase the responsivity of Maori offenders in particular. This includes whakairo (carving), kapa haka and waiata (song).
“Our programme follows a holistic approach to treatment, including the physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of participants in the programme. The aims of the programme extend beyond the release of the participating prisoners, in that it involves the family and other support people of the offenders, who will eventually be instrumental in their successful integration in society.
“Ultimately the work undertaken at Te Piriti aims to increase the safety of children in society by providing offenders with lifelong skills that will assist them to manage their risk factors.”
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