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World authority on treatment of sexual offenders to give public lecture

A world authority on the treatment of sexual offenders who is a key advisor to the Vatican will share his insights on the nature and treatment of sexual deviancy at a public meeting in Sydney tonight.

Australian-born and Canadian-based Professor Bill Marshall will speak at the Australian Catholic University North Sydney campus on the topic, Sexually Abusive Clergy: prevention and treatment.

Professor Marshall is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry at Queen's University and is the Director of Rockwood Psychological Services. He has been involved in treating and conducting research on sexual offenders for the past 35 years, during which time he has been an advisor to prison services in 12 countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Along with five other experts, he was invited to meet with the Pontifical Council for Life in the Vatican to advise them on how best to deal with sexually abusive priests and religious.

Professor Marshall's research has confirmed the universal traits of sex offenders, whether they be clerical and religious offenders or offenders from within other institutions or areas of society. His research has also drawn the link between sexual abuse and the abuse of power.

A recent assessment of 42 treatment programs developed by Professor Marshall and his associates showed a 50% drop in the rate of re-offending.

Professor Marshall has been in Australia sharing his expertise with various bodies responsible for the treatment of offenders, including Encompass Australasia, which provides treatment for people in ministry or other helping professions who are struggling with psychological issues. Encompass runs a psychosexual program known as the Respect program.

Dr Tony Robinson of Encompass said Professor Marshall's work is at the cutting edge of research into the nature and treatment of sexual offenders.

"The Catholic Church established Encompass in 1997 as one of nine strategies to address sexual abuse within its faith communities and within society more generally. Some people wonder if sexual abusers deserve money spent on their treatment. However, if in most cases, that treatment can mean that they never harm another victim, then the money is well worth it."

Professor Marshall was invited to give the public address by the Catholic Church's National Committee for Professional Standards. The Australian Catholic University is hosting the lecture as one of its series of public addresses on the topic.

World authority on treatment of sexual offenders to give public lecture (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference/Australian Catholic University 11/8/04)

Free public Lecture: 'Sexually Abusive Clergy: Prevention and Treatment' (ACU National 11/8/04)
"Sexually Abusive Clergy: Prevention & Treatment" (ACU National 11/8/04)
Sexually abusive clergy: prevention & treatment (ACU National 11/8/04)
ACU National
Encompass Australasia
Recovery under the Marshall plan (The Age 26/7/04)
Sex abuse expert furore (The Mercury 8/7/04)

12 Aug 2004