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PRESS RELEASE
WEDNESDAY APRIL 23RD, 2009

ONE IN FOUR WELCOMES THE NEW INITIATIVES REGARDING SEX OFFENDERS

One in Four welcomes the decision of the Minister for Justice to introduce new approaches to dealing with sexual offenders.  We are pleased that a new treatment programme will be introduced into Irish prisons, and that it will cater for sixty convicted sex offenders each year.  Executive Director, Maeve Lewis said “I believe that incentives have to be put in place to encourage sex offenders to participate in treatment programmes and that this may include early release.  It will be difficult for people who have experienced sexual violence to accept that their abuser may be allowed back into the community before their sentence is served.  However, we know that effective treatment reduces the likelihood that the abuser will re-offend, and that will contribute to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. I also believe that treatment and supervision in the community is essential after release, and should be automatically included in sentencing after conviction”.

The new policy only applies to convicted sex offenders.  Maeve Lewis continues “ It is of great concern to us that fewer than 10% of sexual offenders ever come to the attention of the criminal justice system.  These men and women are living in our communities without treatment or supervision.  It is vital that people who have experienced sexual violence are encouraged to come forward and report the crime. Many of our clients experience the criminal justice system as being as traumatising as the sexual abuse itself. All the criminal justice agencies – Gardai, Director of Public Prosecution and the Courts -need to review their procedures so that the victims of sexual crime have confidence that they will be treated with respect and dignity throughout the whole process”.

One in Four provides treatment for sexual offenders, most of whom have never been convicted of their crime.  Almost one third of the offenders on our programme refer themselves for treatment, because they are worried about their thoughts and behaviours.  This has to be supported.  Maeve Lewis adds “ Community based treatment programmes  must be provided and resourced so that we can encourage people to engage in treatment voluntarily”.

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Support and resources for people who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence.