Fast on the heels of our Winter issue comes the Spring 2008 edition of the ATSA Forum. In keeping with the trend now set, we have an update from President David Prescott and an article from a student member, in addition to other timely and engaging pieces related to our work in preventing sexual abuse.
In last issue, we included a paper by the recipient of the 2007 Graduate Research Award—Gwenda Willis from New Zealand. This time around, we are including a piece by Kelly Babchishin, a student from Ottawa, Ontario. Kelly submitted the winning proposal for the 2007 Pre-Doctoral Grant. Her article here—Indirectly Assessing Sexual Attraction to Children: The Usefulness of the Implicit Association Test—foreshadows what she intends to research in more depth. The IAT appears to hold some promise as an indirect measure of sexual interest, and could provide valuable concurrent validity for other test protocols (e.g., PPG and Abel Screen).
Also in this issue, we have a thought-provoking article from Phil Rich. In Sense and Sensibility: Our Changing Approach to the Assessment and Treatment of Sexually Abusive Youth, Dr. Rich challenges us to carefully evaluate the treatment services we offer to juveniles. In particular, he asks that we take the time to consider the theoretical and practical elements of process and technique (or method) when constructing intervention frameworks.
Many of you will know that I have a certain affiliation with the Circles of Support and Accountability model started in Canada, but now proliferating around the globe. In fact, I am firmly convinced that it is one of the best models of community engagement and risk management available to us. In 2001, a group of five Canadians (including me) was invited to Great Britain by the Quakers and the Home Office. After a week of discussions and various consultations, the Brits were sold and started the process of molding the CoSA model to fit their offender re-entry needs. In Circles UK: Variation on a Canadian Theme, Chris Wilson (no relation, but a heck of a nice guy), National Development Manager for Circles UK tells us about the growth of the CoSA model in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, although they have monkeyed a bit with the model, they are now seeing reductions in recidivism comparable to those we measured in Canada.
Last, we have a review of a DVD documentary entitled Incest: A Family Tragedy. As we all know, most sexual offenses occur in the family home and are quite frequently perpetrated by someone who professes to love the victim. There are clearly a myriad of difficulties implicit in successfully approaching this very common sexual offense dynamic. In our work at the Florida Civil Commitment Center, we have found this film quite useful in raising issues of betrayal, mixed messages, conflicting allegiances, boundaries, and trust, among others. Layla Deller provides us with a helpful review.
Administratively, we have two pieces: 1. A reminder of the impending due date for nomination for President and Board of Directors positions, and 2. A very important call from Kurt Bumby, Chair of the Professional Issues Committee. Regarding the latter, I draw your attention to comments made by David Prescott in this issue. Legislative and other communities are taking increasingly more notice of ATSA and the work done by its members. Our efforts at influencing public policy and promoting safe and effective methods of abuse prevention are working. But, there is still much work to be done. To quote the opening line from Dr. Bumby’s request: “Without question, the Practice Standards and Guidelines for the Evaluation, Treatment, and Management of Adult Male Sexual Abusers is among the most influential and widely disseminated publications produced by ATSA.” It is now time to update those standards and guidelines. I would encourage all of you to give good consideration to the role you might be able to play in ensuring ATSA’s continued excellence in guiding those who seek to reduce sexual victimization.
In closing, I remind members that we are committed to publishing on a wide variety of issues and perspectives. In other words, I’m always looking for interesting articles, both from students and those who might be a bit more established. Please consider contacting me with your ideas. The Forum is your publication.
Robin J. Wilson, Ph.D.
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