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Sex Offender Treatment Programs Delivered In-Person or Virtually for Adults Convicted of Sexual Offences in Various Settings: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: August 17, 2020
Project Number: RC1300-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of sex offender treatment programs for adults convicted of sexual offences in custody versus in the community?
  2. What is the clinical effectiveness of sex offender treatment programs delivered virtually versus in-person for adults convicted of sexual offences?
  3. What is the clinical effectiveness of culturally specific sex offender treatment versus standard or no treatment programs for adults convicted of sexual offences from various cultural groups?
  4. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding best practice models for sex offender treatment programs delivered in-person or virtually?

Key Message

Evidence from three systematic reviews, one overview of meta-analyses and a non-randomized study were included in this report.Moderate- to- high quality evidence from a non-randomized study evaluating the effectiveness of the Tupiq program for Inuit individuals convicted of sexual offences showed that culturally specific values incorporated into sexual offence programs were favorably associated with reducing general and sexual reoffending compared to alternative treatment programs or no treatment.No studies that directly compared the effectiveness of community-based sexual offence programs with custody-based programs were identified. Based on informal indirect comparisons, the systematic reviews and overview suggested that sexual offence programs delivered in community settings showed more reduction in recidivism compared to control groups than custody-based programs compared to control groups. However, in the absence of appropriate indirect comparisons, the evidence remains low quality and inconclusive.No evidence comparing the effectiveness of sexual offence programs delivered in person and virtually were identified. No evidence-based guidelines regarding best practice models for sexual offence programs were identified.