Program intensity is linked to offender needs. Moderate to high needs will be met in medium or maximum security settings where programs are longer and more intensive. Offenders who are identified as low risk/needs will be matched with low intensity, short duration programs in minimum security settings, and in the community.
The majority of treatment programs usually include an education component emphasizing attitudes towards sexuality and relationships, empathy enhancement, anger management, victim awareness, techniques to reduce or control deviant arousal and relapse prevention skills. Emphasis is placed on reducing the risk of sexual offending through a combination of self-management and external control.
The public's fear of sex offender recidivism is legitimate. The effects of sexual offending are felt by victims, families and communities for years following the offence.
Over the past few years, Canada has changed both law and practice in dealing with sexual offenders. The following are some of the new initiatives:
A number of these provisions are relatively new and we need to give them time to work. Together, they make a fairly comprehensive set of protections for the community. Some of them can be used more effectively, and we can continue to build on what we know about treating sex offenders. The success of offenders in the community can be improved through appropriate treatment while in custody, intense relapse prevention programs during conditional release supervision, and long-term follow-up and support for sex offenders on an "as needed" basis at no cost to the offender.