Social Work with Sex Offenders: Making a Difference, Malcolm Cowburn and Steve Myers

Social Work with Sex Offenders: Making a Difference, Malcolm Cowburn and Steve Myers There have been many books written about sex offending and about how to work with sex offenders as well as a significant library of ‘how to’ books targeted at social workers working with victims of sexual abuse or non-offending partners (e.g. Calder, 2001; Cooke and Phillip, 2001; Levenson and Morin, 2000; Still, 2016). However, to my knowledge, this is the first book about sex offenders aimed specifically at social workers. Right at the start of the book, the authors quite rightly comment that a book about people who sexually harm children and adults is bound to raise feelings and ‘It involves feelings, thoughts and actions, and is imbued with value’ (p. 1). They then set out their own values, which no doubt influenced the direction of this important text, when they state that ‘Social Justice in the context of sex crimes is a central concern of this book’ (p. 4). The book consists of six chapters, each started by a clear introduction to the area under scrutiny followed by a balanced breakdown of the main contemporary themes and drawn together with a tight conclusion. The book starts with an introduction of the construction of sex crimes and offenders, followed by chapters touching on the construction of risk and the understanding of sex offending from disparate theoretical understandings such as theological and biomedical. The book develops by looking at how the law applies to sex offences and then seamlessly drives into how social work fits into this area of work before finally concluding with an excellent chapter on reflexive and reflective practice with sex offenders. The authors have managed to include in each chapter a great deal of supporting references that enable the reader to explore subjects further. This is relevant from a student or inexperienced social worker perspective and of utmost importantance when recommending this book as a reading text for any module where sex offending features, as it develops breadth and depth to knowledge. This volume condenses a great deal of content into just under 200 pages. It does this by having a clear focus and by giving the reader a great deal of further reading, thus allowing the interested reader to follow particular topics. For example, there is a short passage about sexual exploitation that is supported by references to the main reports which deal with the issue in detail. This is ideal for teaching and learning, as it guides students into being researching practitioners and encourages exploration of areas that they may not have considered previously. However, its size also means that there are areas that are not as well covered, such as a thorough exploration of female and juvenile sex offenders. The book is extremely reflective in nature, and this is highlighted by some good reflective exercises which the reader can undertake as they read the book. They offer a valuable development tool. I would strongly recommend this book to all practitioners who have a nascent interest in the subject of sex offending and offenders as well as to social work students looking for a fresh guide into this important area of study. References Calder M. (ed.) ( 2001) Sexual Abuse Assessments: Using and Developing Frameworks for Practice , 2nd edn, Lyme Regis, Russell House Publishing. Cooke D. J., Philip L. ( 2001) ‘To treat or not to treat? An empirical perspective’, in Hollin C. R. (ed.), Handbook of Offender Assessment and Treatment , Chichester, Wiley, pp. 3– 15. Levenson J. S., Morin J. W. ( 2000) Treating Nonoffending Parents in Child Sexual Abuse Cases: Connections for Family Safety , London, Sage Publications Inc. Still J. ( 2016) Assessment and Intervention with Mothers and Partners Following Child Sexual Abuse: Empowering to Protect , London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The British Journal of Social Work Oxford University Press

Social Work with Sex Offenders: Making a Difference, Malcolm Cowburn and Steve Myers

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0045-3102
eISSN
1468-263X
D.O.I.
10.1093/bjsw/bcx078
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

There have been many books written about sex offending and about how to work with sex offenders as well as a significant library of ‘how to’ books targeted at social workers working with victims of sexual abuse or non-offending partners (e.g. Calder, 2001; Cooke and Phillip, 2001; Levenson and Morin, 2000; Still, 2016). However, to my knowledge, this is the first book about sex offenders aimed specifically at social workers. Right at the start of the book, the authors quite rightly comment that a book about people who sexually harm children and adults is bound to raise feelings and ‘It involves feelings, thoughts and actions, and is imbued with value’ (p. 1). They then set out their own values, which no doubt influenced the direction of this important text, when they state that ‘Social Justice in the context of sex crimes is a central concern of this book’ (p. 4). The book consists of six chapters, each started by a clear introduction to the area under scrutiny followed by a balanced breakdown of the main contemporary themes and drawn together with a tight conclusion. The book starts with an introduction of the construction of sex crimes and offenders, followed by chapters touching on the construction of risk and the understanding of sex offending from disparate theoretical understandings such as theological and biomedical. The book develops by looking at how the law applies to sex offences and then seamlessly drives into how social work fits into this area of work before finally concluding with an excellent chapter on reflexive and reflective practice with sex offenders. The authors have managed to include in each chapter a great deal of supporting references that enable the reader to explore subjects further. This is relevant from a student or inexperienced social worker perspective and of utmost importantance when recommending this book as a reading text for any module where sex offending features, as it develops breadth and depth to knowledge. This volume condenses a great deal of content into just under 200 pages. It does this by having a clear focus and by giving the reader a great deal of further reading, thus allowing the interested reader to follow particular topics. For example, there is a short passage about sexual exploitation that is supported by references to the main reports which deal with the issue in detail. This is ideal for teaching and learning, as it guides students into being researching practitioners and encourages exploration of areas that they may not have considered previously. However, its size also means that there are areas that are not as well covered, such as a thorough exploration of female and juvenile sex offenders. The book is extremely reflective in nature, and this is highlighted by some good reflective exercises which the reader can undertake as they read the book. They offer a valuable development tool. I would strongly recommend this book to all practitioners who have a nascent interest in the subject of sex offending and offenders as well as to social work students looking for a fresh guide into this important area of study. References Calder M. (ed.) ( 2001) Sexual Abuse Assessments: Using and Developing Frameworks for Practice , 2nd edn, Lyme Regis, Russell House Publishing. Cooke D. J., Philip L. ( 2001) ‘To treat or not to treat? An empirical perspective’, in Hollin C. R. (ed.), Handbook of Offender Assessment and Treatment , Chichester, Wiley, pp. 3– 15. Levenson J. S., Morin J. W. ( 2000) Treating Nonoffending Parents in Child Sexual Abuse Cases: Connections for Family Safety , London, Sage Publications Inc. Still J. ( 2016) Assessment and Intervention with Mothers and Partners Following Child Sexual Abuse: Empowering to Protect , London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.

Journal

The British Journal of Social WorkOxford University Press

Published: Nov 2, 2017

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