Adolescent Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes in New Zealand: A Process Evaluation
Adolescent sex offenders are recognised as perpetrating a significant proportion of all
sexual abuse in our communities. The results of extensive research in this area have
clarified many intervention issues and this has led to the development and
implementation of treatment programmes aimed specifically at adolescents.
Notwithstanding the publication of a small number of outcome studies, process
evaluations of treatment programmes for this client group have not featured in the
literature. This dissertation presents the findings of a process evaluation of the three
main community based adolescent sexual offender treatment programmes in New
Zealand. The evaluation aimed to investigate how the programmes worked so that their
strengths and weaknesses could be identified. The findings provided the basis for
recommendations aimed at improving service delivery and programme effectiveness.
Qualitative methods were employed with data being obtained from in-depth interviews
with key stakeholders, direct observation and written documentation across three sites.
Results indicate (a) high levels of consumer satisfaction with the programmes; (b) the
importance of providing flexible and integrated approaches to treatment;
(c) engagement in treatment was facilitated by the quality of the client-therapist
relationship, family involvement, culturally appropriate communication, and creative
and physical activities; (d) the importance of providing clients with good pre-entry
information to reduce barriers to participation; (e) recognition should be given to issues
of cultural difference by ensuring cultural services for ethnic minorities are integrated
into all levels of programme delivery; (f) the importance of building strong interagency
collaborations and public relations; and (g) the importance of strong organisational
structure and leadership support for staff. The results are discussed in terms of
programme improvement in the New Zealand context as well as their application to
programme development and improvement in other settings.