Monday, November 11, 2013

Virginia PolitiFact / Bob-O-Meter November 2013: Governor McDonnell’s August 2009 Promise to Increase Penalty for Sexual Battery of Children

Politifact/Bob-O-Meter: Increase penalty for sexual battery of children, November 11, 2013
By Sean Gorman 

  • McDonnell Promised To: Elevate sexual battery, when the crime is committed by force or where the offender is an adult and the victim is three years younger, to a Class 6 felony.
  • Politifact Rules: No Action / Promise Broken
An October 2012 report by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission said boosting all sexual battery offenses to class 6 felonies would cost $5.1 million over six years to house additional inmates. 

McDonnell "will consider including funding for this initiative" in a final two-year budget he will propose to the General Assembly in December 2013.  But even if McDonnell includes the money in his budget proposal, he won't be around to see his promise through. McDonnell's term expires on Jan. 11, 2014 --  three days into next year's General Assembly session. 

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.