Child Sex Offender Treatment

Community Solutions for the Community’s Problem (2003) (pdf: 253KB)

- An Outcome Evaluation of Three New Zealand Community Child Sex Offender Treatment Programmes.

Story from Corrections News September 2003 (pdf: 340KB)

Sex offender treatment programmes proving effective

A recent study of New Zealand community-based programmes for men who sexually offend against children has shown that these programmes are performing well. 

The programmes are run by Auckland-based SAFE Network Inc, STOP Wellington Inc and STOP Trust Christchurch.  The research, carried out by Dr Ian Lambie and Dr Malcolm Stewart of Auckland University, was commissioned by the Department as part of its research and evaluation programme.

"The evaluation shows that participants who completed the community-based programmes had a 5.2 percent recidivism rate, compared against the recidivism rate for untreated child sex offenders of between 16 to 21 percent," says Jared Mullen, General Manager Policy Development.

The community-based programmes are funded by a number of agencies, including Corrections, Child, Youth and Family, and other community funding sources. 

"It's reassuring to know that effective programmes for this type of offending are available and being delivered in New Zealand, both in prison and in the community," says Jared. 

"However, we should remember that there's no such thing as a cure for sex offending - no matter how good a therapeutic programme is, some participants will re-offend at some stage.  All programme graduates need to maintain life-long vigilance against slipping back into old patterns."

In New Zealand, treatment options for child sex offenders fall into three main groups: prison-based sex offender treatment units (such as Kia Marama at Rolleston Prison and Te Piriti at Auckland Prison), community provider programmes, and individual intervention through a psychologist.

The prison-based programmes have consistently evaluated well, with a 2002 Canadian review 1 of sex offender programmes putting Kia Marama alongside the most effective treatment programmes available internationally, on the basis of Kia Marama's evaluation document, And There Was Light.

1 Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 14, No. 2, April 2002 First Report of the Collaborative Outcome Data Project on the Effectiveness of Psychological Treatment for Sex Offenders. R K Hanson, A Gordon, A J R Harris, J K. Marques, W Murphy, V L. Quinsey, and M C Seto.