Chief Constable Simon Bailey calls for a new approach to the treatment of paedophiles
StopSO UK, the Specialist Treatment Organisation for Perpetrators and Survivors of Sexual Offences, today welcomed the appointment of the National Police Chiefs’ Lead for Child Abuse Investigation, Chief Constable Simon Bailey of Norfolk Constabulary, to the position of Patron of the charity.
StopSO UK offers therapy to anyone who is worried or concerned about their sexual thoughts or behaviour before an offence has been committed.
Explaining his support of StopSO and its preventative approach, Chief Constable Bailey said: “When you look at the number of child abuse image offenders that we are arresting, less than a quarter are actually receiving any form of custodial sentence. When they go to prison, there’s no form of rehabilitation whatsoever for that offending type.
“Seventy-five percent are simply getting a suspended sentence or some form of community service order or conditional discharge. I genuinely think the evidence is there that would say that we need to start an alternative debate. The evidence is there that says we’ve got to start doing something different.”
A StopSO representative explained : “During 2017, almost 800 people asked StopSO for help. Over a third of these people have not come to the attention of the Police or Social Services. Eighty percent of StopSO clients pay for their own counselling. However, 20% are young adults, mostly students, or people on low income who are unable to afford therapy. StopSO needs funding to be able to offer free or subsidised therapy to clients and protect children from harmful sexual behaviour.”
Bailey added: “Reports of child sexual abuse continue to rise year on year and we have to do everything we can to meet the challenge. That is why I am delighted to be associated with StopSO and to have been asked to be Patron. I am passionate about protecting children and StopSO offers specialist treatment to sex offenders and those who have yet to abuse. StopSO has an important role in tackling the threat of child sexual abuse and to ensuring that children are not abused, because by the time the police service receives a report of abuse, the damage has already been done.”
Bailey’s appointment as Patron will be followed by the charity’s launch of an awareness campaign ‘No More Harm’ (#nomoreharm). The campaign will share the life-altering experiences of victims of sexual abuse.
StopSO said: “Not only will this campaign serve to remind us all how the pain and suffering caused by sexual abuse could and should be prevented, it will also send out a strong message to would-be abusers. If it means there’s one less victim who needs our support, then it will have been worthwhile.”
To meet demand, StopSO will offer therapy to victims and survivors of sexual abuse.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
- StopSO is a charity providing therapy in the community for those who feel at risk of committing a sexual offence, or who have already committed one. Until StopSO was founded in 2012, there was no UK wide service that offered face-to-face counselling to someone who knew that they were attracted to children, to prevent them becoming a child molester or internet offender.
- StopSO are also raising funds to be able to provide therapy and counselling for victims of sexual abuse. But the charity’s primary focus will remain therapeutic work with people at risk of committing sexual offences, preventing the initial damage from being done, rather than picking up the pieces afterwards.
- According to the NSPCC, 24.1% of people between the ages 18 and 24 had experienced sexual abuse in childhood. Bentley, H. et al (2017) How safe are our children? The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK 2017. London: NSPCC
- There were 64,667 police recorded sexual offences against children and young people from April 2016 to March 2017. Retrieved from https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/news-opinion/child-sex-offence-recorded-every-8-minutes
- The Children’s Commissioner, in a report Protecting children from harm: A critical assessment of child sexual abuse in the family network in England and priorities for action, states “This enquiry estimates that [only] 1 in 8 victims of child sexual abuse come to the attention of statutory authorities.” Retrieved from: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/2015/11/24/only-1-in-8-children-who-are-sexually-abused-are-identified-by-professionals
- Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, said on the BBC television programme When Kids Abuse Kids (Panorama, 2017): “We know that only 1 in 8 reports [from children] are actually coming through to the Police, so one victim in every eight is having the confidence and the courage to come forward.”
- Multiplying 64,667 by 8 gives us an estimate that over 517,336 children are sexually abused each year. This equates to 1,417 new cases of a child being sexually abused every day.
- It costs £65,000 to imprison one sexual offender for a year if you include police time and court costs.
- The most recent meta study of this group by Losel and Schmucker (2017), shows that treatment programmes lead to an average 26.3% reduction in re-incarceration rates. StopSO predicts they will be asked for help by 880 clients in 2018. If this success rate is used for StopSO’s client group, then it is plausible that in 2018, StopSO’s work could stop 231 men from offending. The cost of imprisoning these men for a year would be over £15 million. Lösel, F., & Schmucker, M. (2017). Sexual offender treatment for reducing recidivism among convicted sex offenders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Campbell Systematic Reviews. doi:10.4073/csr.2017.8
- StopSO maintains that with adequate funding, many of these children could be saved, along with millions of pounds of tax payers money. StopSO would like to ensure that no-one is ever refused help. StopSO believes that therapy should be provided free-of-charge to all perpetrators asking for help who cannot afford to pay for themselves, as a cost-effective way of reducing sexual offending in the UK. Most clients pay for their own therapy. But the charity is currently having to turn away 20% of those who approach them, because these 20% of people who are asking for help, don’t have enough money to be able to fund their own therapy.
- This year StopSO expects to be approached by 880 clients struggling with sexually inappropriate behaviour. 176 (20%) of these people will not be able to afford to pay for their therapy, and StopSO doesn’t have the funding to provide the help they need.
- Subsidising these clients and providing a referral service to a trained StopSO therapist for all those perpetrator-clients who approach StopSO in 2018, could be funded by a government subsidy of only £136,858 This equates to 1.2% of the cost of imprisonment. Thus, if more than one person is kept out of prison then StopSO will have repaid the government funding, because it costs £65,000 to imprison someone for one year (if you include police time and court costs).
- So far, StopSO has not received any government funding. As a comparison, Project Dunkelfeld in Germany receives ministry funding of €5 million per annum to support therapy, research and training for people who have a sexual attraction to children. Scholz, K. (2016, October 25). Model project for paedophiles saved. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved from http://p.dw.com/p/2RhOs.
- The cost of prevention is dwarfed by the cost of sexual abuse. The consequences are often life-long for the victims and devastating for their families. The financial costs to society of child sexual abuse are estimated by the NSPCC at £3.2 billion per annum. Saied-Tessier, A. (2014). Estimating the costs of child sexual abuse UK p.19. Retrieved from NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/estimating-costs-child-sexual-abuse-uk.pdf.
- StopSO was formed in 2012 with the aim of reducing sexual offending in the UK and ensuring that those at risk of sexual offending or re-offending have access to fully trained professional treatment to stop sexually harmful behaviours, thus safeguarding all members of society from the devastating consequences it causes.
- StopSO works with people who have committed all kinds of sexual offences, as well as those who have not yet committed an offence. StopSO connects each client with a counsellor or psychotherapist who is open to hearing about their issues. Training is given to the therapists to help them think about their reactions to the topics the client might discuss, understand the likely pathways to offending, respond in a proportionate manner to ethical dilemmas, be aware of recent research, identify risk factors and learn about the most effective treatment strategies for this client group. Clients are usually able to see a therapist within a matter of days.
- Two-thirds of the people contacting StopSO are doing so because of issues related to the potential and actual sexual harm of children, including troubling thoughts, accessing online child abuse images, or a contact offence.
- 38% of people asking StopSO for help have not come to the attention of the police or social services, so in many cases StopSO is preventing the first crime.