Association For The Treatment Of Sexual Abusers Essay

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The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) is a nonprofit, international, interdisciplinary organization focused specifically on the prevention of sexual abuse through effective management of sex offenders. ATSA was founded to foster research, facilitate exchange of information, further professional education, and provide for the advancement of professional standards and practices in the field of sex offender evaluation and treatment. A voluntary membership organization, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders has over 1,000 members representing a variety of fields, including psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, and corrections.

Formed by a small group of clinicians in Oregon, ATSA was incorporated in 1984. The mission of the organization is (a) elimination of sexual victimization, (b) protection of communities through responsible and ethical treatment of sexual offenders, (c) prevention of sexual assault through effective management of sex offenders, and (d) maintenance of high standards of professionalism and integrity within its membership.

To accomplish its mission, ATSA sponsors an annual 3-day conference plus a day of preconference clinics, publishes a professional journal, publishes practice standards and guidelines as well as a code of ethics, provides ATSA informational packages and ATSA task force reports, and supports state chapters. The ATSA Annual Research and Treatment Conference offers symposia, workshop presentations, poster sessions, discussion groups, and advanced clinics relating to issues in both victim and perpetrator research and treatment over a 3-day period. The conference format facilitates interaction with and learning from some of the most advanced practitioners in the field of sexual abuse. In addition, ATSA offers a selection of intensive half-day and full-day preconference clinics designed to provide extensive training and skills enhancement.

The official journal of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment (formerly Annals of Sex Research), is published quarterly by Springer. The journal provides a forum for the latest research and scholarly reviews of both clinical and theoretical aspects of sexual abuse, and it is the only professional journal to focus exclusively on articles related to sexual offending. This respected, peer-reviewed quarterly presents studies encompassing the assessment and treatment of the sexual offender and the effects of sexual abuse on victims and families.

ATSA develops and publishes ATSA Informational Packages on important aspects of assessment, treatment, and research related to sexual offenders, such as risk assessment. ATSA also develops and publishes ATSA Task Force Reports on such critical topics as children with sexual behavior problems. The ATSA Standards and Guidelines and the companion document, the ATSA Code of Ethics, are provided as a benefit of membership and are available for purchase by nonmembers.

The organization now has active state chapters in some 25 states, and the state chapters play a critical role in ATSA’s efforts to meet the professional needs of its members. Each state chapter typically meets monthly to offer training and opportunities for peer networking. Some chapters also sponsor state or area conferences to provide additional training and networking opportunities.

Regular membership in ATSA requires one of the following: (a) a master’s degree or above in the behavioral or social sciences and a minimum of 2,000 hours providing direct clinical services to individuals who have engaged in sexual offending behavior; (b) a master’s degree or above and a minimum of 2,000 hours of research specific to issues related to sexual offending; or (c) engagement in 2,000 hours of work specifically related to sexual abuse prevention or to the management of individuals who have engaged in sexual offending behavior. Other categories of membership for those with somewhat less experience in the field include clinical associate, research associate, affiliate, and student.

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