The self-regulation model of the relapse process (Ward & Hudson, 2000) has been developed and empirically validated on general sexual offender populations (Bickley & Beech, 2002), but not on specific sexual offender populations. This paper aims to investigate whether special needs offenders, as compared to mainstream sexual offenders, can be categorized into the offense pathways described in the model. In addition, this paper aims to evaluate the application of the self-regulation model in highlighting the treatment needs of the special needs group. Special needs sexual offenders are defined as a treatment population that includes individuals with lower functioning, limited social and communication skills, and literacy deficits. Participants were classified into the self-regulation model using a method developed by Bickley and Beech (2002). Demographic and offense information were collected and comparisons made between the special needs and mainstream groups. The results showed that the sexual offenders with special needs could be reliably classified into the offense pathways of the self-regulation model. The largest group of special needs offenders was in the approach-automatic group, followed by the approach-explicit group. The results indicated no significant differences in representation in the offense pathways between the special needs and mainstream sexual offenders. The results also indicate that the special needs group would benefit from a responsive approach to treatment, which incorporates appropriate treatment targets identified by the self-regulation model.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 30, 2006
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