Denying the deniers? an examination of the probation service working with sex offenders in denial

  • Jill Dealey

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study examines the supervision and management of sex offenders in denial through small sample studies of the probation service in England and Wales. Denial in sex offenders is complex and can create significant difficulty for probation officers holding the responsibility for managing the cases. This has been highlighted as problematic, with deficiencies in the training and support of probation officers considered to be a major factor (HMIP, 2010; Ministry of Justice, 2010). The study discusses the issues which can arise for probation officers and evaluates existing approaches to probation supervision of sexual offenders in denial.

The literature review examines the concept of the risk society (Beck, 1992, Giddens, 1990,1991) and the historical development of the probation service within this context. The requirement to control and manage risk has had a central role in shaping the contemporary probation service, and underpins risk assessment and management decisions. Additionally, the concept of denial is explored using sources from sociology and psychology. This leads to a discussion of ways of approaching the issue of denial with sexual offenders.

The primary research was conducted in the period 2011-2013 with both pre- and post-qualified officers. It is comprised of two studies of pre-qualified officers, which identify issues for those who have been unable to access experience in working with sexual offending and those in denial. Two studies of qualified officers indicate that there is disparity in confidence, with those trained in a social work ethos possessing more assurance than probation officers who qualified more recently in risk-focussed programmes.

The study additionally examines resources such as programmes and methods of one-to-one working. It is the contention of the author that greater dissemination of these resources will assist probation officers in their work with deniers.
Date of AwardSept 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorMichael Nash (Supervisor), Andy Williams (Supervisor) & Steve Savage (Supervisor)

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