A SURVEY FROM OUR TEAM: The Structure of legally imposed out patient Offender Support for offenders of sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a serious social problem that causes considerable harm and misery. It has also become a 'hot' topic. Social consensus now accepts that it is preferable to combat sexual abuse not only within regressive but also with preventive measures.
Offender support is an offshoot of this approach. This relatively new fields has still to define itself and the various works in the field are still busy finding out how to satisfy the demand for preventive measures.

I.T.E.R. is the Flemish speaking centre for the region Brussels/Halle/Vilvoorde. The purpose of this article is to present how we visualise our work with offenders of sexual abuse. We intend to present our views from a scientific base. An accredited scientific version of this article will then be sent round to specialist publications. We do see, however, that we must come op with something more than science. The work with sex offenders demands considerations from the human angle as well. The emotional reactions that our work provokes are not to be taken lightly.

The following passage intends to illustrate this balance-act between working from scientific base and working from an approach motivated from a positive but not naive view of human nature.
With the help of the following five statements, which we will expand later turn by turn, we want to make this clear:

  1. Offenders support is not a therapy for forensic patients, but it is forensic help for those whose irresponsible sexual behaviour has caused harm.
  2. Offender support cannot be 'forced upon' people yet, it is a form of binding therapy.
  3. Offender support functions as a therapy within the limits of its mandate. This mandate is re-offence prevention.
  4. Security is a pre-condition for the work of offender support and requires third-party supervision.
  5. Offender support calls for multi-disciplinary teamwork and has its own instrumentarium.


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