I accepted an invitation to join ODIN Intelligence to assist a team of educators teaching probation and parole officers to improve outcomes for individuals who commit sexual crimes.
My invitation came from Justin Moyer, an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) law enforcement officer from California, who teaches about registry and supervision issues. Coupled with his own program, Justin felt my expertise in the psychology of sexual offending, trauma, and officer burn out would nicely round out the summit.
The Summit’s Location and Purpose
The Barbados Probation Department organized the summit and hosted it on their beautiful island. We taught a tailor-made version of our program to everyone from probation officers to judges.
The government of Barbados does not yet have specialized treatment or supervision for individuals who have committed sexual crimes. They wanted to learn what they could from us to apply it to their own system and culture.
More Studies are Needed to Improve Outcomes
Preparing for this was different from any other program I have taught. Therefore, I was acutely aware of one very glaring fact:
The majority of the research on people who commit sex crimes is from North American or Western European countries. Consequently, the subjects are predominantly white.
When it comes to risk assessment, the same thing applies. The majority of subjects used to create risk assessment measures such as the STATIC-99R are white. There has even been some research published that suggests that these measures overestimate risk in black men.
Therefore, to improve outcomes we must research and validate culturally relevant data.
As professionals, our time is valuable. Dr. Weeks created the Mitigation Aide Research Archive because there isn’t enough focused, data-backed research available in easily digestible formats.
When we received our agendas for the event, we quickly realized this was more important than we initially thought!
The Barbadian Probation Department invited a very inclusive list of attendees. There were over thirty people who attended including:
- Probation officers
- Child welfare workers
- Prison treatment providers
- Social workers
Unfortunately, there were no law enforcement officers who chose to attend.
Attendees expressed shock when we noted that such a diverse group of professions gathered together would likely not happen in the US. I am hardly able to imagine judges showing up to a training with probation officers, social workers, and treatment providers.
It’s truly a shame, because the richness of comments, questions and insights from having so many people familiar with so many different aspects of the field was amazing.
Do you believe your sexual behaviors are compulsive or harmful to you or others? Then you should take the CSBD-19 free, validated self-assessment tool.
Improve Outcomes Through Cultural Awareness
Any time you teach in a different place culture has a huge impact. I find this fascinating, as a therapist with a research background.
I teach primarily about internet-based sex crimes in the US. For instance, CSAM possession, online solicitation, and luring.
The criminality in Barbados was different. They experienced a greater amount of hands-on sexual abuse of both children and adults.
There was a feeling among some of the attendees that a deep cultural misogyny affects this difference.
Are you a Licensed Professional Counselor in need of continuing education? Learn more about Sex Addiction, Erotic Conflict, and Moral Incongruence from Dr. Weeks and Sexual Addiction Treatment Services, an NBCC ACEP™ approved provider!
Sexual Addiction Treatment Services has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7250. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Sexual Addiction Treatment Services is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
Research Deep Dive
I emphasized during my teaching that research and risk assessments were not normed on their culture. Furthermore, the research didn’t include people of color. Therefore, I emphasized that this was an amazing research opportunity for the clinicians and probation officers planning on implementing risk assessment procedures.
When there is nothing in place, validated measures are likely better than nothing, but a culturally sensitive measure would be something to really work towards.
One of my favorite private discussions was with a treatment provider at the men’s prison who had recently been accepted into a Ph.D. program. During the four days of talks he made the decision that sex crimes would be the focus of his research. He wanted to start working to address the dearth of data about Caribbean nations.
At that point, as someone who loves to help cultivate careers, I felt like my work was done.
I’m super excited to possibly collaborate with him and see what great things he does in the future!
I feel invigorated by being part of this summit. I rarely ever hear this level of excitement or enthusiasm from US audiences. Despite the desire to create positive change in their communities.
I feel the energy from that room was a balm to my own professional burnout. But, perhaps, teaching mere feet from the most gorgeous beach had something to do with it as well!
Are you a professional looking to stay up-to-date with the latest information on, sex addiction, trauma, and mental health news and research? Or maybe you’re looking for continuing education courses? Then you should stay up-to-date with all of Dr. Jen’s work through her practice’s newsletter!
Do you feel your sexual behavior, or that of someone you love, is out of control? Then you should consult with a professional.
Have you found yourself in legal trouble due to your sexual behavior? Seek assistance before the court mandates it, with Sexual Addiction Treatment Services.