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Denial Among Sex Offenders: Does It Make a Difference?  

Author:  Philip H. Witt.; Zachary Yeoman, Psy.D..

Source: Volume 19, Number 06, October/November 2018 , pp.81-85(5)

Sex Offender Law Report

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Nothing spurs debate among treatment and evaluation professionals more quickly than a sex offender who minimizes his (or her) actions or, worse yet, outright denies them. This article addresses two related issues arising from denial. After briefly discussing the responses of the treatment community and the courts when a sex offender engages in denials and minimization about his or her criminal actions, the authors review the literature on denial and minimization. What do the research studies show? Is it possible to treat deniers? Does denial increase risk among sex offenders in all cases, some cases, or no cases? Second, the authors then discuss how to communicate in reports and testimony the results of this research. If, for example, the research literature indicates that denial does not increase risk for at least some kinds of sex offenders, then how can one present that counterintuitive information?

Keywords: Treatment, Recidivism, and Denial; Recidivism Predictors for Deniers; Active Responsibility Frameworks

Affiliations:  1: Associates in Psychological Services, P.A.; 2: New Jersey SVP Special Treatment Unit.

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