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UK’s first programme to rehabilitate convicted stalkers launches in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

1 August 2018

The UK’s first programme aimed at rehabilitating convicted stalkers launches today in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. 

The programme is based on a model and research from probation workers in the United States, which saw those who completed the course stop their offending. A version for the south east has been designed by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company, (KSS CRC), the region’s agency responsible for delivering initiatives that reduce reoffending. 

 

Specially trained probation officers, subject to clinical supervision, will work with convicted stalkers to examine the chain of events, triggers and behaviours that heighten their risk of offending. Over a course of three months and 10 one-to-one sessions, they will look to develop new skills and coping mechanisms that break the cycle of offending and prevent further escalation.

 

Progress will be overseen by KSS CRC’s assistant chief officer for interventions, who is also a psychotherapist. 

 

Therapeutic models exist for people convicted of domestic abuse but it’s the first time that authorities in prisons or judges and magistrates have a programme available that actively targets lowering the risks posed by stalkers. People could be referred by judges as part of their sentence or under conditions placed on them on their release from prison.  

The number of stalking cases recorded by police nationally has trebled since 2014 with forces in Kent, Surrey and Sussex recording 340, 205 and 295 incidents respectively in 2017. In 2015, the average prison sentence length for someone convicted of stalking was 14.1 months.

Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company assistant chief officer for interventions, Carl Hall, said:

“This new approach is designed specifically to target a reduction in obsessive and compulsive behaviour, that can be so devastating for victims and in some cases lead to tragic consequences.

“While monitoring of offenders is important, our goal is to reduce their risk of reoffending to prevent further victims of crime. The research from the United States on the effectiveness of this model is encouraging but we shall monitor offenders’ progress very closely and any relapse in behaviour could lead to new sanctions or prosecutions in court.”

KSS CRC chief executive officer, Suki Binning, said:

“This is the first intervention in use anywhere in the UK that is designed to reduce the risk posed by convicted stalkers and we will share our results with colleagues across the country.

“Crime patterns change continually, and it is vital that as a probation service, we are able to adapt our response to keep pace. We will continue to look for the best available evidence, research and practice from the UK and around the world that could help to cut crime and reoffending in communities across the south east.”

Ends 

Notes to editors

1.       The new intervention is based on a model researched in the United States where stalking offenders under the supervision of the Department of Probation for New York (Manhattan) and Kings (Brooklyn) counties of New York City were referred for treatment, typically as a condition of probation. A model called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) was adapted for the treatment of offenders. The study by Rosenfeld et al. (2007) delivered a programme to 29 people, 14 of whom completed. Treated offenders were significantly less likely to re-offend with another stalking offence (0 of 14) compared to treatment drop-outs (26.7 per cent) or to published recidivism data (47 per cent).

2.       The model used for the intervention is based on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, a comprehensive treatment for complex, difficult-to-treat disorders. It helps people to overcome rigid thinking and was developed for circumstances in which other approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, have little effect. DBT looks at how people interact with others in different environments and relationships. The theory behind the approach is that some people react more intensely to certain emotional situations, particularly those in romantic, family and friend relationships.

About Kent Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC)

Kent Surrey & Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company Ltd (KSS CRC) works to reduce reoffending and in so doing, improve people’s lives – potential victims as well as perpetrators of crime. KSS CRC works with people who have been sentenced by a court to either custody or community supervision and who are classed as low to medium risk.

KSS CRC is part of the Seetec Group, a private limited company.  For further information, please see http://ksscrc.co.uk

KSS CRC works across Kent, Surrey and Sussex’s 35 council areas through a network of 16 offices and serves a population of more than four million.  KSS CRC’s ownership transferred from the Ministry of Justice to privately-owned Seetec Group on 1 February 2015 as part of the Government’s probation reforms in England and Wales.

For more information please contact Michael Baker at Eterna Partners on michael.baker@eternapartners.com or +44 (0)7782 398418.

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