When allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour are made, the consequences for the individual and their family can be devastating. Identifying the correct response from child protection agencies can also be challenging for the professionals involved. Irish law defines child protection as paramount and statutory agencies are legally required to place the safety and welfare of the child, and other potential victims, above all others.

Traditionally, the use of risk assessment, threat management, and risk prediction are considered valuable elements of intervention with sexual offenders, or potential sexual offenders. These approaches attempt to answer the questions such as, is the individual going to do it again, what is the likelihood they will do it again and how much of a risk are they? However, the most worthwhile answer obtain from an assessment will be to the question ‘What do we need to do to help this person refrain from further harm to themselves and others?’

Child Welfare Consultancy Services offers an independent assessment of the person displaying sexually problematic behaviour. With consideration to the legal position that the child is paramount; We can conduct an ‘offender focused’ ecological assessment of need, risk and interventions required to diminish that risk. The assessment produces a relapse prevention plan that can help the individual, their family and the professionals involved identify measures that will minimise the offender’s potential risk. This can also assist in providing decision makers information on contact, support, family reconstruction and the practicalities of family maintenance. The assessment process is based on clinical interview and actuarial evaluations. Actuarial approaches are based on the systematic, impartial, and quantified use of information relating to the individual. This data is then applied to statistical procedures which can be utilised to identify risk factors and precursors to recidivism. CWCS combines this approach with a physiological assessment.

Physiological assessments have been internationally accepted as an exclusively accurate method of measuring sexual preference, and therefore identifying precise treatment and intervention requirements. While other assessment approaches rely on self disclosure by the alleged offender; physiological assessments apply tests that the individual would find almost impossible to manipulate. This combination of assessment methodologies are widely used in the United States and other countries leading the way in innovative sexual offender assessment. The use of this assessment approach is unique to Child Welfare Consultancy Services in Ireland.