Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration: Key findings and future directions
This is an edited summary of key findings from ANROWS research Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration.
This study examined two community-based reintegration programs for sexual offenders currently operating in South Australia (Circles of Safety and Accountability) and Queensland (Cultural Mentoring Program) to further understanding of how these types of programs can impact recidivism rates.
- Circles of Support and Accountability was shown to help participants build new identities as non-offenders, while holding members to account by providing them with a network of community-based volunteers.
- The Cultural Mentoring program works with released Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders, building strong and positive non-offending cultural identities with a focus on connections with family, culture and Country.
- While their views were diverse, victims/survivors said that these programs help increase their sense of safety as the perpetrator is being monitored by services who are able to report concerns. They advised a response to offenders that is pragmatic, not punitive.
- Community safety is enhanced through community-based programs for sexual offender reintegration, and these programs should be supported.
- A stronger focus in program design on core characteristics associated with the impact of the programs is required. These include: support for offenders to adopt prosocial, law-abiding identities and lifestyles rather than solely concentrating on reducing reoffending
- (re)connecting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participants with aspects of their traditional or precolonial culture.
- Keep victims/survivors informed about the release and reintegration processes of offenders, as this can empower victims/survivors to make informed decisions about their safety.
ANROWS Research to policy and practice papers are concise papers that summarise key findings of research on violence against women and their children, including research produced under ANROWS’s research program, and provide advice on the implications for policy and practice.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2020). Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration: Key findings and future directions (Research to Policy and Practice, 07/2020). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.