Date of Submission


Document Type



Kevin Barnes-Ceeney, Ph.D.


Sex Offender, Denial, Probation, Treatment, Minimization, Victim


Sex offenders, Denial (Psychology), Probation, Treatment, Harm reduction, Sexual abuse victims


The prevalence of sexual offenses calls for a reevaluation of how the system treats offenders and addresses indicators of risk. How an individual convicted of a sexual offense accepts or denies the assault can weigh heavily on the sanctions imposed upon them, and how the system processes the offender. Acceptance of guilt is an important goal in offender treatment programs, and denial is reportedly used as an indicator of high risk of recidivism. Deeper examination into how individuals who deny their offense are understood and processed throughout treatment aids in the identification of best practices for working with sex offender denial. Assessing practitioner conceptions of sex offender denial and treatment strategies targeting denial via interviews established a more in-depth understanding of how the criminal justice system engages with deniers. This study utilized interviews with probation officers and treatment staff to compile a comprehensive analysis of how professionals in the criminal justice system address sex offender denial. Key themes within the topic area of sex offender denial and treatment that arose through practitioner interviews consisted of how the criminal justice system processes these individuals, common characteristics of the sex offender criminal population, the role of denial in offending behavior and treatment, best practices for addressing denial in probation and treatment, and goals and strategies in sex offender probation and treatment.