This paper describes an evaluation of different uses of roleplay to enhance victim-specific empathy in sexual offenders. Thirty-three men participated in a treatment program involving offence re-enactment as described by Pithers (1994) and Mann, Daniels, and Marshall (2002). A matched group of 33 men participated in a treatment program that was identical in all respects except that they did not complete offence re-enactments. Instead, they completed extra roleplays designed to enhance empathy for the short and long-term consequences for their victim(s). Results indicated that completing an offence re-enactment led to slightly better ability to identify some types of negative consequences for abuse victims, and identify cognitive distortions about their offending and women per se. Rapists in particular seemed more likely to benefit from offence re-enactment. The non-re-enactment group showed better understanding of lifestyle disruption effects for sexual abuse victims. The differences between the groups were not very marked, and the study only involved measures of cognitive empathy. Given the concerns about offence re-enactment expressed by Pithers (1997), this procedure should be used with caution and future investigations should test specifically for possible signs of damage caused by the procedure.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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