National Child Sexual Exploitation Day 18th March 2018
STOPSO announce expansion plans to include a new service supporting Survivors of Sexual Abuse
StopSo (Specialist Treatment Organisation for Perpetrators and Survivors of Sexual Offences) was formed in 2012 with the aim of reducing the risk of sexual offending in the UK and ensuring that those at risk of offending or re-offending have access to fully trained professional treatment thereby reducing sexually harmful behaviours and safeguarding other members of society from the devastating consequences it causes.
Alongside this expansion, we are changing what StopSO stands for (see above). Up until now StopSO stood for The Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending.
As of the 18th March 2018, to coincide with national CSE day 2018,StopSo announces their intention to expand their service. StopSO will now provide therapy to victims and survivors of sexual abuse as well as perpetrators. Currently there is no UK wide network of therapists offering therapy to people who have been sexually abused.
In February 2018 StopSO UK planted 1183 pin wheels on the bank of the Thames in a bid to highlight the number of child victims every single day in the UK, and raise awareness of the issue of a lack of funding for therapy for survivors of sexual abuse (see below for the photo). We started the #1183stopso campaign alongside this. But the latest figures show that now there are 1,417 children every day who are sexually abused in the UK. This means that a new child is sexually abused every minute. And 21% of these are under 10 years old. Thus, StopSO is starting a new campaign about this #1417stopso.
There were over 64,667 police recorded sexual offences against children and young people from April 2016 to March 2017 (2). The Children’s Commissioner, in a report Protecting children from harm: A critical assessment of child sexual abuse in the family network in England and priorities for action, states “This enquiry estimates that [only] 1 in 8 victims of child sexual abuse come to the attention of statutory authorities.” Multiplying 64,667 x 8 gives us an estimate of the number of children who are sexually abused each year.
StopSO maintains that with adequate funding, these figures could be dramatically reduced, saving hundreds of potential victims, along with millions of pounds of tax payers money.
StopSO is a national charity that provides therapy in the community for those who feel at risk of committing a sexual offence, or those who have already committed one.
Juliet Grayson, a UKCP Registered Psychosexual Therapist and Chair of StopSO says
“StopSO would like to ensure that no-one is ever refused help. We believe that therapy should be provided free-of-charge to all perpetrators asking for help who cannot afford to pay for themselves, as a cost-effective way of reducing sexual offending in the UK. Unfortunately we currently have to turn away 20% of those who approach us due to lack of funds.”
Juliet Grayson continued, “The government is failing these children by failing to fund therapy which prevents these offences occurring. And furthermore, it is failing the British tax-payer.
“This year StopSO expects to be approached by 1,936 clients struggling with their sexually inappropriate behaviour. Of those, 387 of will not be able to afford to pay for their therapy, and at present we don’t have the funding to provide the help they need.
“It costs £65,000 to put one person in prison, but less than £2,000 for preventative counselling. It would cost the government nearly £126 million of tax payers money to imprison those 1,936, when it could subsidise this shortfall for a mere £735,000” (3)
Records show that perpetrators who have undertaken therapy sessions with StopSO have been deterred from sexual offending. If StopSO’s work was to be publicly-funded, it would only need one client out of every 170 to become non-offending (and therefore be diverted from entering the Criminal Justice System) to make StopSO fully cost-effective.
Until StopSO was founded in 2012, there was no UK wide service that offered face-to-face counselling to someone who knew that they were attracted to children, with a view to preventing contact offending or use of the internet to view images or videos of child abuse.
To date StopSO has not received any government funding.
By comparison, Project Dunkelfeld in Germany receives ministry funding (4) of €5 million per annum to support the provision of therapy, conducting research, and delivering training designed to effectively manage the behaviour of those who have a sexual attraction to children.
Grayson added: “If the government won’t respond to the plight of victims, it should at least consider the financial reality. Failing to support organisations like StopSO is a false economy.
“The cost of prevention is dwarfed by the cost of sexual abuse.
The consequences are often life-long for the victims, and devastating for their families.
The financial costs to society of child sexual abuse are estimated by the NSPCC at £3.2 billion per annum (5).
“The Home Office spent £20 million pursuing online child groomers last year (6). Since there are already 86,000 people in prison according to the Howard League, there is simply not enough room to lock up all of those who have committed sexual offences. We need another solution.
“That solution is government-funded therapy before the crime, not after…and that way, we may be planting fewer windmills next year.”
Currently, StopSO works with people who have committed all kinds of sexual offences, as well as those who have not yet committed an offence. The additional service expanding to victims and survivors will look to connect each client with a counsellor or psychotherapist who is open to hearing about their issues. Training is given to the therapists to help them think about their reactions to the topics the client might discuss, understand the likely pathways to offending, respond in a proportionate manner to ethical dilemmas, be aware of recent research, identify risk factors and learn about the most effective treatment strategies for this client group.
Two-thirds of the people contacting StopSO to date are doing so because of issues related to the potential and actual Threat of sexual harm to children, including troubling thoughts, accessing online child abuse images, or the temptation to commit a contact offence.
It is worth noting that 38% of people asking StopSO for help have not come to the attention of the police or social services, so in many cases StopSO is preventing the first crime.
Most clients coming to StopSO pay for their own therapy, making direct payments to their therapist. StopSO therapists pay an annual membership fee, and a referral fee for each client they treat in order to keep the organisation financially afloat. To keep up with the growing demand from clients who might commit (or who have already committed) a sexual offence, StopSO needs funding. Within 18 months StopSO will need at least four full time members of staff to manage the increasing volume of perpetrator-clients.
If the government funded StopSO’s staffing and administrative fees and provided sufficient funds for subsidised therapy through StopSO, one person out of every 170 people that asked StopSO for help could receive effective therapy, not commit a crime and stay out of the criminal justice system, making StopSO cost effective for the tax payer.
StopSO’s primary focus will remain therapeutic work with people at risk of committing sexual offences, preventing the initial damage from being done, rather than picking up the pieces afterwards.
The expansion of working with victims and survivors will provide a unique pathway of support to ensure victims can be supported as they come to terms with the far reaching effects of this devastating crime.
Support our campaign #1147stopso
For further information, pictures and interviews, contact:
- Detective Sergeant (retired) Nigel Hatten 07783 691575 who was awarded both the Queen’s Police Medal and the High Sheriff’s Award in recognition of his Child Protection and Safeguarding work.
- Sharon StopSO’s Head of Operations: 07473 299 883 (Monday-Friday)
- Dom Lane on 07944 440935, or
- Juliet Grayson 01291 638805 (only available from 20th March onwards) the Chair and co-founder of StopSO:
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- Radford, L. (2011). Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. Retrieved from London: NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/child-abuse-neglect-uk-today-research-report.pdf
- NSPCC: Child sex offence recorded on average every 8 minutes in the UK https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/news-opinion/child-sex-offence-recorded-every-8-minutes/ 64,667 x 8 (only 1 in 8 is reported) / 365 (days in the year) = 1417 children per day who are sexually abused
- It costs £65,000 to put one person in prison, if one includes police time and court costs (Focus Prisoner Education. The Cost of Prisons. Retrieved September 11, 2017, from http://www.fpe.org.uk/the-cost-of-prisons).
- StopSO anticipates a 170% increase in the number of clients making contact in the next twelve months. This means that in 2018 StopSO will be asked for help by 1,936 clients, the majority of whom will fund themselves. However, 387 (20%) of these people, who are struggling with sexually inappropriate behaviour, will not be able to afford to pay for their therapy. The costs of offering therapy to these perpetrators can be broken down as follows: the staffing and administrative fees are estimated at £200,000. The cost of offering subsidy to the 20% of perpetrator-clients who cannot afford to pay is estimated at £535,000. These two added together total £735,000. This money would provide therapy for 1,936 clients, of which 387 would be subsidised. That equates to a cost of £380 per person. Since it costs £65,000 to put one person into prison, if we divide £65,000 by £380 this gives us the number of people that StopSO needs to keep out of prison to be cost effective. This equates to 1 person out of every 171.
- Scholz, K. (2016, October 25). Model project for paedophiles saved. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved from http://p.dw.com/p/2RhOs
- Saied-Tessier, A. (2014). Estimating the costs of child sexual abuse UK p.19. Retrieved from NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/estimating-costs-child-sexual-abuse-uk.pdf