Child sexual abuse is the most horrendous crime committed against children. It is beyond comprehension how can a human being commit such an atrocity to another human being, especially children. In today’s society, we see many types of deviant acts
being committed against children, women, men and even animals, and what can society
do about it? What can be done to prevent it?
In order for us to begin to understand the reasons behind this deviant behaviour, we need to look into specific aspects of each case, study the behaviour of the perpetrator and the circumstances that contributed to his or hers behaviour. Consequently, this paper will explore Bert’s Case Study, and will aim at identifying Bert’s problem behaviour, understand and explain his offending behaviour towards children and find a suitable rehabilitation program for Bert, so as to prevent him from ever re-offending. Lastly, this paper will evaluate how successful is the treatment program offered to Bert and if it is the most appropriate one to aid in preparing him from future re-offending.
IDENTIFICATION OF BERT’S PROBLEM BEHAVIOUR
Bert a 49-year-old man is identified as a child sex offender and is serving a 7 year sentence for sexually assaulting children. Bert was a scout master and was arrested after numerous complaints claiming he had sexually assaulted boys scouts aged between 10 and 14 years of age during his scout activities. It is known that these offenses occurred over a number of years.
Many would describe Bert as a paedophile, however, there is more than one definition of paedophilia but for the purpose of this paper Bert will be considered a paedophile, or – a male adult who chooses children as the object of his sexual preferences.
Bert claims that his sexual offenses towards these boys began after his wife’s car accident when she became a paraplegic, which led to Bert’s “blocking off access to an adult sexual partner” (Abel and Osborn 1995, p.273). Although Bert claims that his sexual offenses began when his wife became disabled, the scouts also mention that Bert’s sexual offenses occurred over a number of years, which lead us to believe that Bert is not being truthful and is trying to hide his true feelings. According to Smallbone and Wortley (2004), child sex offenders tend to begin offending in adolescence, and that “the average age at first sexual offense conviction is to be about 37 years”.
Hanson (2002) also argues that “opportunity for sexual contact with children peaks in middle-age when men establish themselves in parental roles or other position of authority related to children”, in this particular case, Bert being a scout master offered him ample contact with children.
Bert claims that when he was a child he was sexually abused by his uncle, and this could have contributed to his offending. According to Abel and Osborn (1995, p.275), Bert’s sexual offenses towards children may have been instigated by his childhood sexual victimisation by his uncle.
CONCEPTUALISATION OF BERT’S OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR
Over the centuries, many theorists have come about with numerous types of theories to describe personality behaviours. These theories emphasise each person’s own propensities and characteristics with the aim at explaining their criminal behaviour. One of the earliest theorists named Lambroso believed that criminal behaviour was the result of a person’s genetic abnormality, Lambroso was an atavist. Other theorists such as, the American psychologist B.F. Skinner and the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov believed that criminal behaviour focused on conditioned reflexes, Albert Bandura believed in his Social Learning theory.
According to Barbaree, Bogaert and Seto (1995, p.362) they argue that “paraphiliacs disorders were caused by distortions of a process of learning or conditioning”. Barbaree (1995, p.376) further explained that “these deviant behaviours...