Talking to sex offenders

lockeddoorA few weeks ago PCN featured a journal article on talking to sex offenders. Now, courtesy of the BBC (30 Oct), news that the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has set up a behavioural analysis unit to better understand sex offenders. Psychologists are conducting interviews with imprisoned offenders. As the BBC story explains:

These interviews are being recorded, with 1,000 hours already having been collected, and then analysed by experts to learn more about offenders and their motivation. The point of the unit… is to “improve knowledge about offenders, why they do what they do and how we can prevent that from happening”.

Ceop tackles child sex abuse and its new unit has a staff of four, which includes forensic psychologists and specialists in forensic behaviour analysis, who believe most sex offenders can be deterred from committing a crime …The unit’s staff go into prisons and conduct the interviews themselves, asking open-ended questions in an attempt to get the offenders talking.

According to a spokesperson:

“We have a theoretical model that we work to called the spiral of abuse, and the idea is that if you can intercept someone at some point on the spiral, you can stop them. That’s the theory, but it does depend on the individual.”

In a second story on the BBC News website we learn that the Ceop unit is “based on a similar FBI unit in the US” and that Ceop has also:

launched its own educational academy. Child protection workers from a number of fields, including police and the charity sector, will be able to study for a University of Central Lancashire-accredited qualification. [Ceop head Jim] Gamble said that would help create a field of experts with up-to-date knowledge of child protection techniques.

The Ceop press release, on which the BBC stories are based, can be found here.

Photo credit: Still_Burning, Creative Commons License

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