Monday, November 11, 2013

Domestic and Sexual Violence in Virginia: December 2012 Report Attorney General’s Office

I have previously posted about The Virginia Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board. The name of this group was originally Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Advisory Board and they do still cover Sexual Abuse issues, they just dropped the words “Sexual Violence” from their name. See their previous reports at the bottom of this post. 

The Virginia Attorney General wrote a report of his own last December on Domestic and Sexual Violence in Virginia for the members of the Virginia Legislature and Virginia Crime Commission. As this blog did not exist until this past July I have yet to post the A.G’s report until now.  

I am going to share some of the Sexual Offense data from the report with you here, you can read the full report at the below link. Just remember all the numbers are from December 2012 for 2011. 

Mary Devoy

Sex Offenses 
The total number of violent crimes reported in 2011 includes 4,768 forcible sex offenses involving 5,104 victims. Forcible sex offenses reported include forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling. Of the reported victims of forcible sex offenses, the vast majority (85%) were female.36 Nearly two-thirds (61%) of reported victims, both male and female, were under the age of eighteen.37 Approximately one in four (25%) of the reported forcible sex offenses involved offenses committed against family members or intimate dating partners. 

The majority of forcible sex offenses (78%) were committed by perpetrators known by or acquainted with the victim, including a substantial percentage of offenses committed by family or household members or dating partners (33%). Of the remaining offenses reported, 15% were committed by unknown/unreported assailants and 7% were committed by strangers.

Number of Forcible Sex Offenses – Most Reported Locations of Offense, 2011 Location
Forcible Rape (n=1,527)
Forcible Sodomy (n=569)
Sexual Assault w/Object (n=322)
Forcible Fondling (n=2,350)
Parking Lot/Garage

Sexual Violence Offenders-Institutions (in Virginia)  

Currently sixteen DOC facilities are designated to provide sex offender treatment.  

Designated sex offender treatment sites may provide a variety of services including assessment, psycho-educational groups, therapeutic groups, or residential treatment services. Assessment is comprised of a specialized evaluation to identify an offender’s specific sex offender treatment needs and risk of re-offense. Psycho-educational treatment is education-based and provided via non-therapeutic groups of both sex offender-specific and ancillary topics which require an offender to demonstrate a particular level of content knowledge. Offenders to this level of treatment and offenders are prioritized according to their release date. Psycho-education is the first and most basic level of treatment. Following completion of psycho-educational groups, offenders are screened for appropriateness for therapeutic treatment. Such individual or group treatment identifies and addresses the dynamics and occurrence of sexual behavior and utilizes specific strategies to promote behavioral change.  

This level of treatment is reserved for offenders who have been assessed as being at medium to high risk of sexual re-offense. 

    1. Sex Offender Residential Treatment (SORT)-Residential treatment for sex offenders is provided in the SORT Program located at Greensville Correctional Center. The goal of the Program is to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment services to offenders who have been identified as being at moderate to high risk for sexual re-offense. The SORT Program utilizes psycho-educational and therapeutic interventions as well as extensive assessment measures, including the polygraph and penile plethysmograph (PPG). Offenders are referred from across the Department; program staffs accept those most appropriate for intensive treatment. The program utilizes techniques which have been shown to have the greatest likelihood of reducing sexual reoffending behavior; the treatment methods and theoretical underpinnings of the program are based on the merging of the Transtheoretical Model of Change, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the Good Lives Model, and Relapse Prevention. These treatment models are supported by research consistent with evidence based practices (EBP), and their integration is a natural progression in the treatment of sex offenders.  

    2. Sex Offender Awareness Program (SOAP) -SOAP Version 2 is an introductory psycho-education program designed to provide sexual offenders with basic information about sexual offender behavior and treatment issues. Not everyone who is appropriate for the SOAP group will require additional treatment. However, completion of this group can also provide a foundation for additional treatment in those cases where additional treatment has been deemed appropriate. 

    3. Therapeutic Insight Group- This group will utilize numerous activities and materials to aid 48 offenders in cultivating pro-social behaviors, attitudes and values and improving choices for life satisfaction: (1) completion of various inventories to aid the offender in exploring and understanding their values; (2) group discussion of problematic behaviors and exploration of underlying values and beliefs; (3) problem-solving exercises to aid the offender to increase their coping skills, self-efficacy, etc.; (4) role playing as a means to practice new behaviors and solidify pro-social values/beliefs (e.g. empathy); (5) utilization of the group process to promote pro-social values such as support and the development of appropriate friendships, active involvement in a community, recognition of the rights and needs of others and accepting change; and (6) homework assignments to reinforce emotional intelligence addressed in group as social judgment skills.  

    4. Thinking for a Change for Sex Offenders-This curriculum uses as its core, a problem solving program using both cognitive restructuring and social skills interventions. While each of the concepts is presented systemically, the participant ideally learns that cognitive restructuring requires cognitive skills methods. Cognitive skills development requires an objective, systematic approach to identifying thinking, beliefs, attitudes, and values. As depicted in the Program Outline, the cognitive restructuring concepts are introduced and emphasized during the initial (lessons 1-15) lessons of the program, interspersed with targeted critical social skills development which supports the cognitive restructuring process. This segment is followed by the development of problem solving techniques (lessons 16-21), again supported by appropriate social skills. Simultaneously, the problem solving portion of the curriculum relies heavily upon the restructuring concepts and techniques already introduced to the participants, thereby integrating all three approaches. This closed group consists of 22 lessons, and includes role-plays, presentations, homework assignments, discussion, and group participation directed towards deviant sexual offending behavior.

Sexual Violence Offenders-Community Corrections (in Virginia) 

Currently, DOC houses approximately 7,800 sexual offenders in correctional institutions and supervises approximately 3,500 registered sex offenders in the community. In addition, a five percent increase in registered sex offenders released to supervision in the community is anticipated in 2011. Sex offenders present unique challenges in regard to reentry although their recidivism rate itself is often not as high as general offenders. Based on national data, the recidivism risk for sex offenders is relatively low (13.7% observed recidivism rate over five years in an analysis of 95 studies involving over 31,000 offenders). 

Sex offenders in Virginia are required to register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minor Registry. Probation and Parole Districts maintain a listing of all sex offenders along with their photographs. Virtually all sex offenders are in the intensive level of supervision. 

In 1995, the Virginia General Assembly created the first Senior Probation and Parole Officer Sex Offender Supervision Specialist position. Probation and Parole Districts were asked to submit proposals on how that position would be utilized if awarded to that district. District 35, Prince William County, was awarded the position and the first official Sex Offender Containment Team was established. The containment model of supervision is victim centered and founded on the premise that offenders are 100% responsible for their behavior. The three central elements are external control (the criminal justice system), internal control (sex offender treatment), and the use of the polygraph examination. 

At the time the containment model was making inroads in Virginia, the first sex offender treatment contract was developed for use in community supervision. The elements of this contract have evolved throughout the years, and there are currently 20 providers on the contract. Through these contract services, Probation and Parole districts now have the following services available to them: sex offender assessment, psycho-education services and sex offender treatment services for offenders in community corrections. Additionally, eight polygraph examiners are also contracted to conduct examinations in the 43 districts and the SORT Program. Since 1995, seventeen districts have been designated “containment sites.” A team approach is used and the team is most often comprised of a Senior Probation and Parole Officer, Sex Offender Supervision Specialist Officer, and a Surveillance Officer. Data collection over the years has supported this approach to sex offender supervision. In the July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 Community Corrections Status Report, these containment sites reported a 23% overall re-arrest rate (609 new offenses, 102 of which were registry offenses) of which less than 1.7% (44) were for new sexual offenses. The remaining 26 districts, though not given the additional resources referenced above, have also incorporated the concept of the containment model into their sex offender supervision. 

Programs used for those offenders identified as sex offenders include:
  • Referral to sex offender treatment
  • Polygraphs
  • GPS monitoring
  • Close monitoring by State Police
  • Safety planning with family members 
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2012 Report: Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Advisory Board 

2011 Report: Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Advisory Board

2011 Report and Recommendations: Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Advisory Board