Why is specialized training important?
- Sexual crimes have become the number one reason for incarceration in American prisons. Studies of adult sexual offenders have revealed an ongoing cycle of abuse that often begins during childhood and continues unchecked throughout the lifespan. Treatment of adolescent sexual offenders has developed out of the need to intervene in this cycle of violence at the earliest possible onset.
- Treatment providers who have not received specialized training often find this client population particularly challenging and sometimes disturbing. Additionally, staff typically comes from diverse educational backgrounds, only some of whom have significant coursework in counseling.
- In order to successfully impact sexual offending behavior in juveniles, treatment providers need to be accurately informed about the therapeutic issues related to sexual abuse and the challenges typically encountered in this work. Without this knowledge base, staff and programs are vulnerable to the serious problems that can arise when working with this population.
Why is credentialing important?
There are two primary reasons why credentialing is important in this field: staff credibility and staff effectiveness.
- Staff credibility: The sexual offender treatment field has established clear standards for staff training. Programs whose staff has not been trained to a level commensurate with national standards may have difficulty establishing credibility with funding sources and judiciary. This is particularly true for staff who do not have degrees in regulated professions.
- Staff effectiveness: Staff who are not trained adequately do not have the knowledge, skill, or confidence to design and implement an appropriate treatment program that will maximize relapse prevention. Every case of inadequate treatment due to insufficient training is a potential threat to community safety.