Sharon M. Scifres, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Private Practice

Modern Day Lepers-Working with Registered Sex Offenders

Abstract:  My goal in this presentation is to make human those individuals that are seen as outside of God’s grace, those that society sees as monsters that should at least be locked away never to see the light of day and at worst should be euthanized. I want my audience to feel empathy for sex offenders, to gain some understanding of how someone veers into such darkness and more importantly how someone who has committed a sex crime can be helped.

Most people, including therapists find it difficult to care for and be empathic towards those who have betrayed society and preyed on the vulnerable and weak. Those that harmed a child are particularly seen as modern day lepers. I want my audience to have compassion, to care for and to see that sex offenders can be helped. The treatment process is long and arduous and many fail but there are those that succeed. We, as a society, especially us in the helping profession need to learn how important it is for us to care for those that don’t seem to deserve our compassion. I will discuss the many reasons why we should care, the dangers of ostracizing sex offenders and their families, and how those of us that are Christian should care not only for the vulnerable and weak but for those that prey on them.

I will discuss the process of entering sex offender treatment, how this is different from traditional therapy and the similarities to traditional therapy. I will share some of what I’ve learned about why someone commits a sex crime. In conclusion, I will allow time for questions from the audience.