Mersey Forensic Psychology Prevention Service: Pilot Project

  • Lorraine PerryEmail author
  • Simon Duff
  • Lisa Wright
Part of the Sexual Crime book series (SEXCR)


Mersey Forensic Psychology Service has been providing community-based intervention for adults who have sexually offended since 1986. Over the years, treatment has evolved to provide a service that is responsive to clients’ needs whilst aiming to reduce risk of reoffending. This core service is for individuals who have a conviction for a sexual offence against children. The new Prevention Service, developed in collaboration with Merseyside Police, aims to work with individuals who experience a sexual attraction to children to prevent them from offending. The ethos and practice of the core service and how this has informed the new Prevention Service is discussed. The approach utilises therapies that produce enduring emotional and physiological change (Schema Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).


Prevention Sexual offending Schema therapy EMDR Trauma 


  1. Bernstein, D. P., Arntz, A. R., & de Vos, M. (2007). Schema focused therapy in forensic settings: Theoretical model and recommendations for best clinical practice. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 6(2), 169–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cahalane, H., & Duff, S. (2018). A qualitative analysis of nonoffending partners’ experiences and perceptions following a psychoeducational group intervention. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An International, Interdisciplinary Forum for Research, Theory and Practice, 24, 66–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cahalane, H., Duff, S., & Parker, G. (2013). Treatment implications arising from a qualitative analysis of letters written by the nonoffending partners of men who have perpetrated child sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 22(6), 720–741.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Cale, J., Smallbone, S., Rayment-McHugh, S., & Dowling, C. (2016). Offense trajectories, the unfolding of sexual and non-sexual criminal activity, and sex offense characteristics of adolescent sex offenders. Sex Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 28(8), 791–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cortoni, F. (2009). Factors associated with sexual recidivism. In A. R. Beech, L. A. Craig, & K. D. Browne (Eds.), Assessment and treatment of sex offenders. West Sussex, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Daniels, S., & Duff, S. (2015, June). The effect of newspaper soft-core pornography on attitudes towards women and rape. Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference. Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.Google Scholar
  7. Daniels, S., & Duff, S. (2017, June). The effects of short-term exposure to soft-core pornography on males’ attitudes towards sexual aggression and rape proclivity. Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference, Bristol, UK.Google Scholar
  8. De Jong, A., Ten Broeke, E., & Renssen, M. R. (1999). Treatment of specific phobias with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Protocol, empirical status and conceptual issues. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 13, 69–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dennis, J. A., Khan, O., Ferriter, M., Huband, N., Powney, M. J., & Duggan, C. (2012). Psychological interventions for adults who have sexually offended or are at risk of offending. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12. Art. No.:CD007507.Google Scholar
  10. Duff, S., Perry, L., Wright, L., & Jackson, P. (2014, June). Working with difficult clients. Symposium, Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference. Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK.Google Scholar
  11. Duff, S., Perry, L., Wright, L., & Wakefield, N. (2015, June). Trauma: Not just for the victims. Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Duff, S., Wakefield, N., Croft, A., Perry, L., Valavanis, S., & Wright, L. (2017). A service for non-offending partners of male sexual offenders. Journal of Forensic Practice, 19(4), 288–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duff, S., & Willis, A. (2006). At the precipice: Assessing a non-offending client’s potential to sexually offend. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 12(1), 43–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Finkelhor, D. (1984). Child sexual abuse: New theory and research. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  15. Friendship, C., Mann, R. E., & Beech, A. R. (2003). Evaluation of a national prison-based treatment program for sexual offenders in England and Wales. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(7), 744–759.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gauvreau, P., & Bouchard, S. (2008). Preliminary evidence for the efficacy of EMDR in treating generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2, 26–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grant, M., & Threlfo, C. (2002). EMDR in the treatment of chronic pain. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 1505–1520.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Giesen-Bloo, J., van Dyck, R., Spinhoven, P., van Tilburg, W., Dirksen, C., van Asselt, T., et al. (2006). Outpatient psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder, randomized trial of schema focused therapy vs transference focused psychotherapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 649–658.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Gilbert, P. (2009). The therapeutic relationship in the cognitive behavioral psychotherapies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Hossack, A. (1999). The professional the paraprofessional and the perpetrator. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 4(1), 15–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hossack, A., & Robinson, J. (2005). Treated sex offenders as “paraprofessional” co-workers in the treatment of the sex offender. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 11(1), 103–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jespersen, A. F., Lalumière, M. L., & Seto, M. C. (2009). Sexual abuse history among adult sex offenders and non-sex offenders: A meta-analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 179–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jaberghaderi, N., Greenwald, R., Rubin, A., Zand, S. O., & Dolatabadi, S. (2004). A comparison of CBT and EMDR for sexually abused Iranian girls. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 11, 358–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lussier, P., Tzoumakis, S., Cale, J., & Amirault, J. (2010). Criminal trajectories of adult sex offenders and the age effect: Examining the dynamic aspect of offending in adulthood. International Criminal Justice Review, 20(2), 147–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marshall, W. L. (2005). Therapist style in sexual offender treatment: Influence on indices of change. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 17(2), 109–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McMurran, M., & Theodosi, E. (2007). Is treatment non-completion associated with increased reconviction over no treatment? Psychology, Crime & Law, 13(4), 333–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mews, A., Di Bella, L., & Purver, M. (2017). Impact evaluation of the prison-based Core Sex Offender Treatment Programme. Ministry of Justice Analytical Series.Google Scholar
  28. Perry, L., Wright, L., & Duff, S. (2013, June). A multi layered approach to sex offender group intervention. Symposium, Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference, Queens University, Belfast, UK.Google Scholar
  29. Proudlock, S., & Hutchings, J. (2016). EMDR within crisis resolution and home treatment teams. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10, 47–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ray, A. L., & Zbik, A. (2002). Cognitive behavioral therapies and beyond. In C. D. Tollison, J. R. Satterthwaite, & J. W. Tollison (Eds.), Practical pain management (3rd ed., pp. 189–209). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Google Scholar
  31. Reavis, J. A., Looman, J., Frabco, K. A., & Rojas, B. (2013). Adverse childhood experiences and adult criminology: How long must we live before we possess our own lives? The Permanente Journal, 17(2), 44–48.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. Ricci, R. J., & Clayton, C. A. (2008). Trauma resolution treatment as an adjunct to standard treatment for child molesters: A qualitative study. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2, 41–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ricci, R. J., & Clayton, C. A. (2016). EMDR with sex offenders: Using offense drivers to guide conceptualization and treatment. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10, 104–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ricci, R. J., Clayton, C. A., & Shapiro, F. (2006). Some effects of EMDR on previously abused child molesters: Theoretical reviews and preliminary findings. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 17, 538–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schmucker, M., & Lösel, F. (2015). The effects of sexual offender treatment on recidivism: An international meta-analysis of sound quality evaluations. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 11(4), 597–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shannon, K., Pearce, E., & Swarbrick, R. (2013). Factors influencing the development of an innovative service for women non-offending partners (NOPs) of male sexual offenders. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 19(3), 357–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shapiro, F. (1995). EMDR: Basic principles, protocols, and procedures. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  38. Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Basic principles, protocols and procedures (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  39. Soberman, G. B., Greenwald, R., & Rule, D. L. (2002). A controlled study of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for boys with conduct problems. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 6, 217–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Martinez, A. G. (2014). Two faces of shame: Understanding shame and guilt in the prediction of jail inmates’ recidivism. Psychological Science, 25(3), 799–805.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Ten Hoor, N. M. (2013). Treating cognitive distortions with EMDR: A case study of a sex offender. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 12, 139–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walton, J. S., & Chou, S. (2015). The effectiveness of psychological treatment for reducing recidivism in child molesters: A systematic review of randomized and nonrandomized studies. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 16(4), 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Walton, J. S., & Duff, S. (2017). “I’m not homosexual or heterosexual, I’m paedosexual”: Exploring sexual preference using interpretive phenomenology. Journal of Forensic Practice, 19(2), 151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ward, T., & Beech, A. (2006). An integrated theory of sexual offending. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11, 44–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ward, T., & Hudson, S. M. (2001). Finkelhor’s precondition model of child sexual abuse: A critique. Psychology, Crime & Law, 7(1–4), 291–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wright, L., & Clarke, H. (under review). EMDR with a sexually abused child sex offender: Self reported changes in sexual arousal.Google Scholar
  47. Wynn, C., & Duff, S. (2015, June). Offence patterns in repeat sexual offenders: An examination of escalation, de-escalation, and stability across sexual offence categories. Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.Google Scholar
  48. Young, J. E., Klosko, J. S., & Weishaar, M. (2003). Schema therapy: A practitioner’s guide. New York: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mersey Care NHS Foundation TrustPrescotUK
  2. 2.University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations