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Decision denies access to sex offender treatment

Corrections decision denies access to sex offender treatment

“The Department of Corrections decision to employ its own clinical psychologist in Nelson, forcing the Nelson Sex Offenders Programme to close, flies in the face of government’s recent announcement about tackling justice sector fragmentation”, says Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment.” He was commenting on an announcement to that effect (Nelson Mail, 29 December 2009)

“That decision not only denies access to group therapy for Corrections clients. It denies treatment to CYFS and community referrals, or from people who self-refer. Earlier this month, the Minister of Justice, Simon Power, promised that the government’s ‘Drivers of Crime” strategy would focus on improving outcomes by tackling fragmentation, ensuring ministerial and chief executive co-ordination of justice sector agencies, improving value for money, and improving the relationship between government and the community. This decision flies in the face of that.”

“Earlier this year, the NZ Taskforce on Sexual Violence proposed setting up of a community based programme which was to be available to Corrections clients, and also to people referred from within the community who had committed sexual offences but who had not been before the courts. These people are sometimes referred to as non mandated offenders as there is no court sentence mandating their attendance at the treatment programme.”

“New Zealand crime survey statistics show that only 9% of victims of sexual violence report it to the Police.”

“If the nation wants to achieve a long term reduction in sexual violence there has to be options to address sexual violence for the offenders who commit the 91% of the sex crimes not reported to the Police. We are starting to see in some areas of New Zealand, increasing confidence in the community about referring sexual abusers to community treatment organisations, knowing that they will not be subject to criminal prosecution. This is particularly so in the case of family sexual abuse.”

“Currently there is no funding stream for treatment of non mandated people who have sexually offended against adults. That is also a matter that the Ministry of Justice needs to address.”

ENDS

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