Many of us will have to deal with sex offenders in our work, whilst not being specialists in sex offender treatment. In this Explainer, we look at how day to day activities within our role can best support the wider principles of public protection and rehabilitation.
We are not therapists…
It may not be our role to manage offenders or deliver sex offending treatment programmes, but we can offer a lot to our service users, such as:
- A curiosity and vigilance about what they are doing, including when they are not with us.
- Providing emotional support, by effective, active listening and offering skills-based interventions.
- Supporting them in changing patterns of unhealthy behaviour.
- Helping them reflect on their relationships with others.
The most important thing we can do with a service user is listen to them. This can also be one of the hardest things we do with them.
This acrostic outlines the major principles we need to follow to be effective listeners:
Look at the service user ; learn by observing and hearing
Be interested and involved while maintaining your own identity
Sense and support safely
Trust the service user to trust you
Enable, empower and empathise
It is not about solving problems, but about hearing needs