Corrective Services NSW

Assessment and treatment


The Serious Offenders Assessment Unit (SOAU) conducts comprehensive and brief psychological assessments depending on offenders' needs, to assist in 'whole of sentence' case management planning for identified sexual and violent offenders in custody. The case management plan recommendations are based on an offender's level of risk, treatment needs, and responsivity factors. The unit maintains key relationships with Inmate Classification & Case Management, Serious Offenders Review Council, Offender Programs Unit, Senior Psychologists of Sex and Violent Offender Therapeutic Programs and Community Corrections Division.

Community-based Sex Offender Programs i.e. Forensic Psychology Services in metropolitan Sydney may prepare - or provide peer consultation to Community Corrections Cluster psychologists who are preparing - assessments/reports for sexual offenders. This includes Pre Sentence Reports to the court and risk management or treatment suitability advice for sexual offenders who may have received a community-based order or are on parole.


All Sex and Violent Offender Therapeutic Programs are cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) based with an emphasis on individual strengths to encourage desistance from offending. ​​The content and structure of programs adheres to the Risk, Needs, Responsivity principles and addresses empirically derived risk factors for sexual and violent offending. Elements of dialectical behaviour therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy, e.g. mindfulness and distress tolerance, have been incorporated into the programs.

These programs adhere to international standards of 'best practice' and are accredited as per the CSNSW Strategic Framework for Program Accreditation (April, 2003). Essential features of CSNSW Sex & Violent Offender Therapeutic Programs are:

  • An emphasis on continuity of treatment services throughout custody and in the community
  • Separate programs to prepare/motivate, treat, and then maintain the treatment gains of sexual and violent offenders
  • Treatment programs are tailored to, and delivered in a manner that, meet the needs of each participating sexual and violent offender
  • Treatment programs vary in intensity according to the risk of sexual recidivism and treatment needs of the offender
  • Innovative treatment programs have been implemented for specific sexual and violent offenders e.g. self-regulation programs for offenders with a cognitive impairment; the Deniers program for men convicted of a sexual offence who categorically deny the offence
  • Psychologists treating sexual and violent offenders receive a high level of supervision and support, and training from local and international experts
  • CSNSW Sex and Violent Offender Therapeutic Programs have been demonstrated to be effective at reducing re-offending.
Last updated:

11 May 2023

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