After the Webinar: Understanding Sexual Assault Perpetration: Sex Offender Management and Treatment Strategies. Q&A with Dr. Tasha Menaker

Webinar presenter Dr. Tasha Menaker answered a number of your questions after her presentation, "Understanding Sexual Assault Perpetration: Sex Offender Management and Treatment." Here are a few of her responses.

 

Audience Question: What intervention you said you saw on college campuses and other places where the person didn't want to see the person go to jail or prison? Could you kindly restate that part?

Dr.  Menaker:  So that is a restorative justice model. Restorative justice is more of a philosophy, and then the way that restorative justice is executed is going to look different in different communities. But there's quite a bit of research to show, it's a program we've implemented a little bit here in Arizona, to show that it's effective and victim well-being and overall satisfaction and feelings of justice. Because ultimately, they only want that person to acknowledge that they had done something wrong. Apologize for it and take responsibility. And so, it's a restorative justice model but there's not one specific modality.

 

Audience Question: Does the research indicate whether medication-based treatment of sex offenders is effective and what should that treatment be combined with for the maximum effectiveness?

Dr.  Menaker:  I think that that's an area in which there's still continues to be debate. From what I read, and in putting this presentation together and in just doing this work, there is some research to suggest that medication can be useful. Some of the medications that are used are kind of medication that decrease libido, even with medication, you would still want a person to engage in other components of treatment. So things that are gonna help to address that cognitive piece, the denial, the cognitive distortion. Because if we think about it, there's a lot of different ways that you can engage in sexual harm against someone that doesn't require libido, necessarily. Or that person can be sexually aroused, and so we want to really target those cognitive distortions in addition to any kind of medication component.

 

Audience Question: This kind of goes more towards definitions than anything else, maybe you could help us understand. You talked about cognitive behavioral therapy, how is that different than "regular therapy"? Could you explain that cognitive behavioral therapy?

Dr.  Menaker:  I feel I have been put on the spot because it's been quite a bit since I finish my masters. I wouldn't say, when I hear the term regular therapy, there's a lot of different therapeutic modalities that are in use and cognitive behavioral therapy is just one. In both components of addressing cognition that may be harmful to that person or causing that person distress that are associated with behavioral outcome. First, you'll be addressing those cognitions, in order to help that person then engage in behavioral changes. And so you can imagine with someone who is engaged in a sexually harmful behavior, it would incorporate addressing those cognitive distortions around their behavior that has historically allowed them to justify their behavior, and then helping them with behavior management so that they don't continue to act on those types of urges.

 

Audience Question: Is motivational interviewing effective with sexual offenders?

Dr.  Menaker:  I don't know.

 

Audience Question: Is the determination of whether an offender is "high risk" based on the underlying charges or some other factors such as psychological assessment, how does that work? 

Dr.  Menaker:  So it really just depends on your jurisdiction, but most of the time, for the vast majority of the time, risk level is determined based on a series of assessments. So I had mentioned some criminal justice rooted assessment, and then clinical assessments, and so for most offenders, regardless of jurisdiction, they're usually going through a series of those to assess their likelihood of risk. And it looks at things like risk factors, again we've talked a little bit about those in Part Two. Risk factors both static, so things that might not necessarily change over time, and dynamic risk factors. There's some empirically validated assessments in place that practitioners will use to measure risk, of sexual reoffending.

 

Audience Question: This goes more towards research how is the data on recidivism obtained. How is that information gathered and tracked? 

Dr.  Menaker: I would encourage that person to reach out to me directly via email and I can send over some of the different studies that I use around recidivism. Most of the studies that I hold for this training are meta-analysis so they're looking at the body of research around recidivism and synthesizing those results. It's difficult for me to speak of all the different methodologies for how people were tracking recidivism. But please go ahead and just email me and I could send those studies over for folks to look at. Or of course, I can give them to you if you want to post them.

 

Audience Question: Are there different treatment strategies and different recommendations and combinations of strategies recommended for juvenile sex offenders versus adult sex offenders? How do those processes differ? 

Dr.  Menaker: Unfortunately, I think just because I don't have a clinical background and doing treatment directly with offenders, and I'm much less familiar with juvenile offending, sexual offending as a whole, I'm not entirely certain on some of those differences. I know in doing the research for this scenario, so now it's so interesting because we incorporated some treatment providers here locally that specialize in adults versus children, and it seemed that there were distinctions, but I just don't feel versed enough in the psychology around that to really talk about it with confidence.

 

Audience Question: How can probation and victims' advocates team up together as you described? Have you seen that work in other places? What does that process look like? Do you highlight locations that work might be happening? What would you recommend? 

Dr.  Menaker: I think the best way to do that is if your community does have a sexual assault response team in place already, that would be ideal because most of those people should be at the table in front of that process anyway. But I know that not all places have that coordinated community response to sexual assault in their area. But really, if you don't that is something that I would encourage you to work to achieve. To my knowledge, many coalitions — we're the Arizona Coalition, but every state has coalitions addressing sexual and domestic violence committees, many of us have funding to provide training and technical assistance around helping communities develop coordinated community responses to address things like sexual and domestic violence. And so I encourage you to reach out, because that's really best practice. There's good research to show that practitioners who address sexual assault, law enforcement, probation, advocates, forensic nurses, prosecutors, all working collaboratively, better evidence collected, more evidence collected, victims are more likely to access services and get help, cases are more likely to go to trial and lead to successful prosecution. It's not just about the probational interconnecting with advocates, but with all these practitioners working together for a holistic approach. I would advocate, I don't know if it's advocate or probation officer asking that question, but I'd advocate doing some research and then reach out directly and talk about ways that you can collaborate because I'm sure both parties would actually, probably have a lot of ideas to bring to the table.

 

Click Here to Watch a Recording of "Understanding Sexual Assault Perpetration: Sex Offender Management and Treatment."

 

 

Additional Resources
1 month ago
Sex Offender Management and Treatment Strategies: An Interview with Dr Tasha Menaker
It's understandable to initially have strong reactions about those who have committed so […]
2 months ago
Understanding Sexual Assault Perpetration Typologies, Risk and Recidivism: An Interview with Tasha Menaker
We do know some things about sexual predators. According to the Rape, Assault, Incest National Ne […]
Join the Justice Clearinghouse Community of over 41,923 Justice Practitioners!

Join the Justice Clearinghouse Community of over 41,923 Justice Practitioners!

3-5 times per week we will send you updates on free upcoming webinars, custom created infographics and interviews with our presenters

You have Successfully Subscribed!

X