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Effective strategies for working with sex offenders in denial

Liam Marshall

Sexual offenders who deny their offences present many challenges to treatment providers, case managers, and other stakeholders. Recent, somewhat mixed, results from research have suggested denial may not be a criminogenic target for sex offenders. However, despite this growing body of evidence, treatment providers and case managers are often put under pressure to overcome denial in sex offenders. This paper will outline issues in dealing with deniers and present a number of alternative ways to address this problem from a treatment perspective. As an example, for more than 14 years we ran a treatment program for categorical deniers that has shown promising results in terms of reductions in reoffending. We have recently completed a second recidivism study also showing a positive effect of our approach to treating categorical deniers. The results of these and other examinations of recidivism amongst categorical denier sexual offenders will be reported and discussed.


Liam Marshall has a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He has been providing treatment and conducting research on offenders and mentally ill offenders for more than two decades. Liam has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including four books, is a board member and reviewer for many international journals, and has made numerous international conference presentations on offender and mental health issues. He has delivered trainings for therapists who work with sexual and violent offenders in 23 countries worldwide. He is currently a research clinician at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and Director of Rockwood Psychotherapy & Consulting.