Beyond Circles of Support: “Fearless”—An Open Peer-to-Peer Mutual Support Group for Sex Offense Registrants and Their Family Members

Lisa L. Sample, Brooke N. Cooley, Tusty ten Bensel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The term sex offender carries expectations that include a continuous level of sexual criminal risk and untreatable mental health conditions that govern sex offending behaviors. These role expectations by the public can socially isolate individuals who have been convicted of a crime and the people who love them. This is likely to contribute to negative self-images that can result in loneliness, isolation, and depression, and, subsequently, contribute to discontinuing support for sex offender’s loved ones and reoffending. This article highlights the creation and maintenance of a peer-to-peer social support group for registered sex offenders and their family members that helps combat the effects of “sex offender” labels. This group differs from formal organized circles of support model and traditional self-help groups such as Alcohol (AA) or Narcotic (NA) Anonymous. We review this group’s creation, processes and procedures, and outcomes, including changes in cognition, mood, and affect over time for members in the group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4257-4277
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume62
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Fingerprint

Self-Help Groups
Sex Offenses
Loneliness
Group Processes
Love
Narcotics
Crime
Sexual Behavior
Social Support
Cognition
Mental Health
Maintenance
Alcohols
Depression
Offence
Peers
Sex Offenders

Keywords

  • circles of support
  • cognitive and affective states
  • sexual offending
  • support groups
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "The term sex offender carries expectations that include a continuous level of sexual criminal risk and untreatable mental health conditions that govern sex offending behaviors. These role expectations by the public can socially isolate individuals who have been convicted of a crime and the people who love them. This is likely to contribute to negative self-images that can result in loneliness, isolation, and depression, and, subsequently, contribute to discontinuing support for sex offender’s loved ones and reoffending. This article highlights the creation and maintenance of a peer-to-peer social support group for registered sex offenders and their family members that helps combat the effects of “sex offender” labels. This group differs from formal organized circles of support model and traditional self-help groups such as Alcohol (AA) or Narcotic (NA) Anonymous. We review this group’s creation, processes and procedures, and outcomes, including changes in cognition, mood, and affect over time for members in the group.",
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