Sexuality treatment program for offenders
Sexuality treatment program by MCYS to help young sex offenders
SINGAPORE – Young sex offenders are to under go sexuality treatment as part of rehabilitation instead of being jailed. This program – Positive Adolescent Sexuality Treatment (Past) is run by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). This program is for offenders who have committed sexual offenders, or have a history of sexually abusive behavior and who are not intellectually disabled. According to The Straits Times, 153 youths between 13 – 18 years-old have taken part in this program over the past 11 years.
Just last week, a 16 year-old boy was convicted of molesting 6 girls and women between age 11 to 41 over a period of 2 months in various parts of Tampines. The court ordered him to participate in the Past program, 3 years probation and 60 hours of community service. He was diagnosed with paedophilia, which is defined as a primary or exclusive interest in children aged 13 or younger.
The Past program is tailored to help young sex offenders get to the bottom of the problem, as mentioned by the social workers. Mr Mani Joseph, a counselor of over 25 years, assistant director of the Asian Women’s Welfare Association Family Service Center, said that sexual offenders are likely to repeat the crime once they leave the prison, which is a controlled environment as indicated by past records.A person is driven by malicious intent when to commit a crime, but one with sexual issues is a disorder that they cannot cope with.
Such programs are held in conjunction of a probation term. This acts as a deterrent message to the offender that he cannot commit similar offenses simply because of being diagnosed with the disorder.
An MCYS spokesman said that participants process their offending behavior, examine relationships and sexuality issues, learning social and life skills as well as working on a relapse prevention plan. The Past program is run by the ministry in-house clinical or forensic psychologists, and has included therapeutic games, activities, interactive group discussions and role-play.
Families of these young offenders are also involved in the program held weekly or fortnightly over a period of six months. This will help foster and improve better communication and relationships between them. It is crucial that the caregivers or parents be equipped with the necessary parenting and supervision skills to support the youth’s rehabilitation.
Group therapy is effective as young offenders are at an age where peer influence matters the most. Thus this helps the individual to build up self confidence when speaking up in the group.
Are such programs a better and effective way to rehabilitate these offenders instead of a jail term?