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Standards of Practice for Professionals

Sex offender treatment providers shall:

1. Be committed to community protection and safety

2. Not discriminate against clients with regard to race, religion, gender preferences or disability

3. Treat clients with dignity and respect, regardless of the nature of their crimes or conduct

4. Be knowledgeable of legal statutes and scientific data relevant to this area of specialized practice

5. Perform professional duties with the highest level of integrity, maintaining confidentiality within the scope of statutory responsibilities

6. Insure that the client fully understands the scope and limits of confidentiality in the context of his/her particular situation

7. Refrain from using professional relationships to further their personal, religious, political, or economic interests other than accepting customary professional fees

8. Not engage in relationships with clients

9. Fully inform clients in advance of the fees for services

10. Refrain from knowingly providing treatment services to a client who is in treatment with another professional without initial consultation with the current provider

11. Make appropriate referrals when the therapist is not qualified or is otherwise unable to offer services to a client

12. Insure that colleagues are qualified by training and experience before making a referral to them

13. When withdrawing services, minimize possible adverse effects on the client and community by continuing treatment until the client has been admitted elsewhere

14. Take into account the legal/civil rights of the clients, including the right to refuse treatment

15. Make no claims regarding the efficacy of treatment that exceed what can be reasonably expected and supported by empirical literature

16. Avoid drawing conclusions or rendering opinions that exceed the present level of knowledge in the field or the expertise of the evaluator

17. Attempt to resolve with the clinician and/or report to the appropriate licensing or regulatory authority unethical, incompetent, and dishonorable treatment or evaluation practices

Sex offender treatment providers assert that:

1. Community safety takes precedence over any conflicting consideration, and ultimately is in the best interest of the offenders and society

2. Inappropriate or unethical treatment damages the credibility of all treatment and presents an unnecessary risk to the community

3. Sex offender treatment providers shall have no history of criminal or deviant acts

4. Criminal investigation, prosecution, and court orders for treatment may be components of effective intervention

5. Where practical, therapists should actively involve community supervision officers, child protective service workers, and victim therapists in case management

6. A voluntary client accepted for treatment should be held to the same standards of compliance as are mandated offenders

7. It is imprudent to release an untreated sex offender without providing offense-specific evaluation and treatment or specialized supervision

8. Without external pressure, many sex offenders will not follow through in treatment. Internal motivation improves the prognosis, but is not a guarantee of success

9. Sex offenders require comprehensive, long-term, offense-specific treatment. Currently, cognitive-behavioral approaches that utilize sex offender peer groups may be the most effective and best evaluated methods of treatment. Self help group, drug intervention, or time limited treatment should be used only as adjuncts to more comprehensive treatment. For some offenders, incarceration without treatment may increase the risk of recidivism

10. The therapist shall have a written individualized treatment plan that identifies the issues, intervention strategies, and goals of treatment for each offender. Treatment plans should be reassessed periodically

11. The treatment plan may include behavioral contracts which outline specific expectations of the offender, his/her family, and the offender's support systems. These contracts should include provisions to avert high risk situations. These contracts should be reassessed periodically

12. Progress, or lack thereof, should be clearly documented in treatment records. Specific achievements, failed assignments, and rule violations should be recorded. This information should be provided to the appropriate supervising officer in the justice system

13. Progress in treatment must be based on specific, measurable objectives, observable changes, and demonstrated ability to apply changes in relevant situations. For most offenders, progress requires changes in the offender's behavior, attitudes, social functioning, cognitive processes, and arousal patterns. These changes should demonstrate increased understanding by the offender of his own deviant behavior, sensitization to the effects on a victim, and ability to seek and apply help

14. When the offender has made the changes required in treatment, there should be a gradual and commensurate decline of intervention, support, and supervision following an offense-specific treatment program. Ongoing support to maintain changes made in treatment is necessary and aftercare and monitoring are desirable

15. There will be instances when the clinician should refuse to treat an offender because essential ancillary resources do not exist to provide the necessary levels of intervention or safeguards

16. The provider has an ethical obligation to refer the client to a more comprehensive treatment program and/or to the judicial system, when the treatment provider determines that an offender is not making the changes necessary to reduce his/her risk to the community

17. Failure on the part of clients to abide by their treatment plans and/or contracts should result in referral back to the supervising officer in the judicial system

18. A therapist may decide to decline further involvement with a client who refuses to address any critical aspect of treatment

19> Treatment providers need to immediately notify the appropriate authority when a client drops out of court-ordered treatment

1.01 The service provider should possess an advanced degree in psychology, sociology, human sexuality, social work, criminology, counseling or psychiatry from a fully accredited institute of higher education. However, if the provider has not completed graduate studies, at minimum, he or she must hold a bachelor's degree in the social sciences, demonstrate competence in specialized professional experience and work under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional

1.02 Relevant work experience is essential to supplement educational achievement

1.03 The service provider must have demonstrated competence in providing a minimum of 2000 hours of face to face contact with clients who have perpetrated sexual abuse

1.04 Service providers are expected to continually update their education and professional training in order to remain familiar with current literature, including the focus and direction of both research and evaluation/treatment techniques

1.05 The service provider should have completed graduate studies, training courses and/or gained significant experience in a majority of the following topics

--counseling and psychotherapy

--personality theory and disorders

--etiology of sexual deviance

--psychometric assessment

--risk assessment

--sexual arousal assessment and reconditioning

--physiological measurements

--human sexuality

--individual, dyad, group, couple, and family therapy

--social competency training

--relapse prevention

--behavior modification

--cognitive restructuring therapy

--culturally specific treatment needs

--treatment of special needs clients

--pharmacological therapy --federal, state, or local sexual abuse statutes

--ethics and professional standards

1.06 All service providers should supplement their educational and professional experience with ongoing consultation with a licensed senior mental health professional experienced in the evaluation and/or treatment of sexual abusers

1.07 A service provider is expected to hold all of those he or she directly supervises to ATSA standards and principals

1.08 Failure to evaluate the performance and qualifications of service providers jeopardizes the credibility of all sexual abuse providers and programs