Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp687-sebu-456097 January 8, 2003 15:9 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 15, No. 2, April 2003 (
Implications for Treatment of Sexual Offenders
of the Ward and Hudson Model of Relapse
James A. Bickley
and Anthony R. Beech
Agroupof59childabuserswereclassiﬁed as having either an “avoidant” (n = 15)
or an “approach” (n = 44) goal regarding deviant sexual activity with children.
Level of distorted beliefs about sexual activity with children (cognitive distortions)
and distorted beliefs about their own victims (victim blaming attitudes) in both
groups were measured before and after treatment. Results indicate that there was
an overall reduction in the level of these distorted beliefs at the posttreatment
stage in the approach group. Reductions were not found in the avoidant offenders
as men in this group did not have distorted beliefs prior to treatment. Results are
discussed in terms of appropriate targeting of treatment.
KEY WORDS: child abusers; cognitive distortions; victim empathy; offence pathways; cognitive–
behavioral treatment; sexual offending.
A fundamental assumption of the cognitive–behavioral approach to child
sexual abuse is that attitudes and belief systems perform a major role in pre-
cipitating and maintaining sexual offending behavior (Blumenthal, Gudjonsson,
& Burns, 1999). Consequently, a commonly accepted goal of many intervention
programs for sex offenders is changing their distorted thinking regarding the ap-
propriateness of their offending behavior (Beech, Fisher, & Beckett, 1999; Geer,
Estupinan, & Manguno-Mire, 1999; Marshall, Anderson, & Fernandez, 1999;
Marshall & Eccles, 1991).
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, Bordesley Hall, Birmingham, England.
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at School of Psychology, University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, England; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation