StopSO is an organisation targeted at supporting individuals who:
- are at risk of committing a sexual offence or are concerned about their behaviour
- are sexually attracted to children but have not sexually offended against a child
- have been cautioned, charged with or convicted with a sexual offence
- are worried about re-offending
- who are in prison
- are partners or other family members of any of the above individuals
- are survivors of sexual abuse
StopSo stands for the Specialist Treatment Organisation for Perpetrators and Survivors of Sexual Offending (StopSO), and is a charity registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.
Mode and context of delivery
Individuals who fall within the StopSO target groups, and of whom are concerned about their own behaviour, are required to complete a ‘Request Help’ self-referral form on the StopSO website. Session numbers are unlimited, and are agreed between the client and the professional. There is a separate ‘Family Member’ form for family members of offenders to request help and session number is similarly unlimited and agreed between client and professional. Family members can also gain access to StopSO Support for Families Online Group, an online support forum. Every session is private and one-to-one, unless otherwise agreed.
Level/Nature of staff expertise required
StopSO has a UK-wide independent network of suitably qualified and experienced professionals who are willing and trained to work with potential sex offenders, sex offenders and their families. These professionals are supervised and include psychologists, psychotherapists and doctors.
StopSO prefers therapists who are experienced as therapists and accredited or intending to go for accreditation with BACP, UKCP, the National Counselling Society or equivalent; however, they will also consider professionals who do not wish to go for accreditation and who have no experience of working in the area of sexual offences because training is provided by StopSO. Therapists wanting to join StopSO are required to undertake a minimum of three days specialist training. This will enable the therapist to work with those clients who present with a ‘lower level’ of offence. Therapists who have completed the ATSAC sex addiction training will only be required to complete two days specialist training with StopSO. Therapists who have already worked extensively with sex offenders may not need to complete any of the StopSO training, as it may be deemed that they have already gained sufficient experience with this client group. StopSO provides further training for those who wish to work with those sex offenders who present a more active risk to society, or have a more complex history; and requires completion of ‘The Professional Certificate in Therapeutic Practice with Sex Offenders’.
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
Length of professional support with StopSO can vary depending on the needs of the client, i.e. it could be short- or long-term. It is important for the client to remain engaged throughout the sessions and to implement advice from professionals outside of the sessions in order to gain the most from the sessions and ensure self-development.
Description of intervention
For the client, StopSO provides:
- a UK wide network of experienced therapists who are trained and willing to work with this client group
- a comprehensive assessment including risk, physical, relational, psychological, spiritual, & social aspects
- individual therapy for the offender
- individual therapy for the partner
- couple work, for both to see the therapist together, including communication training
StopSO therapy sessions are designed to help individuals concerned about their own thoughts and behaviors to develop an understanding of themselves, self-awareness around their behaviours and triggers for those behaviours, and with that a way in which to manage their sexual urges and impulses. As the therapy sessions are tailored to the client’s needs, it is important that the client outlines what they hope to get out of the sessions and then the professional assists them to create realistic and appropriate goals. At the end of therapy, it is hoped that clients will be in a place where they feel much more secure about their behaviour management and understanding.
The StopSO Support for Families Online Group is a described as a safe place for family members of a sexual offender, or for family members of someone who is worried that they may cause sexual harm. Here, family members can share experiences and provide support to one another. Although the forum is hosted and moderated by StopSO, it is not a professional helpline and does not give advice – rather it offers its users a platform to talk to others in the same situation. It is open to anyone aged 18 and over who has a close relationship with a sexual offender, regardless of whether the offence happened years ago or has just become known.
For therapists StopSO provides:
- online support network for therapists to work with sex offenders
- online support network for the families of offenders
- effective research
To date, no evaluation has been conducted on the effectiveness of therapy delivered by StopSO therapists, or the training provide to StopSO therapists.
Address: StopSO UK, PO Box 126, Caldicot, NP26 9BN
Telephone: 07473 299 883
StopSO UK is a Registered Charity, Number 1170470
INFORMATION CORRECT AT NOVEMBER 2020