Adapting the Curriculum

This curriculum is intended for adaptation by users and can be amended to reflect the following considerations.

The Audience

This curriculum is designed for audiences of representatives from professions who are involved or interested in sex offender etiology and typology.  The material is particularly relevant for those disciplines involved in sex offender management.

The Time Available for Training

This curriculum is designed as a half-day session. The time can be further varied, depending on the amount of participant discussion included and the number of learning activities used.

The Number of Participants and the Importance of Audience Interaction

Much of the curriculum can be delivered in lecture style, supplemented by learning activities and discussions. It is strongly recommended, regardless of the audience size, that trainers make plans for substantial discussions and substantive exchanges among small groups of participants. This curriculum reflects an exercise in adult learning and users should assume that the experiences and knowledge bases of the participants will be a valuable part of their training experiences. Disagreements, debates, and supporting examples of individuals’ own experiences are likely to emerge, and small groups (of 25 people or less, if possible) provide an appropriate setting to process audience members’ reactions to the material that is presented. Each group should have a skilled trainer or facilitator assigned to manage it.

Varying Knowledge Levels of Participants

One of the important lessons CSOM has learned in delivering training in a variety of settings and jurisdictions is that often the participants represent a wide spectrum of experience and knowledge about sex offenders and issues related to their management.  It is suggested that users make every effort to ensure that the training is as meaningful and relevant to their audiences as possible. For example, trainers may want to survey participants well in advance of the session they conduct to develop a clear sense of their experience, knowledge level, and any questions they may have. If there is a wide variation in participants’ knowledge level and experience, trainers may consider clustering those who are similar into discussion groups. This would allow more seasoned participants to exchange ideas, react to the materials presented, and provide support to one another. At the same time, less experienced participants could share with one another the unique challenges they face in their work. Conversely, users might take a different approach, deliberately mixing participants who possess different levels of experience. In this situation, those who are not as familiar with the issues presented during the training can query those who bring more knowledge to the training.

Consideration of Victims

The presence of a victim advocate or a treatment provider who is skilled at working with victims is a particularly important aspect of a training team. Users should be prepared for the fact that there may be survivors of sexual abuse in the audience, and that they may have strong reactions to the material that is presented. It is important for trainers to be prepared to validate and support the survivors of sexual assault in the context of the training, and to identify resources (such as local sexual assault crisis services or victim advocacy organizations) to whom participants can be referred, if they need or want further assistance.

Adult Learning

Perhaps the most important caution for anyone planning this training is to remember that this is an opportunity for adult learning. Participants bring to trainings extensive knowledge and rich sets of experiences that affect how they process the information that is provided. Therefore and as stressed earlier, users of the materials in this curriculum should not plan events with only lectures. Instead, trainers are strongly encouraged to avail themselves of the exercises and discussion questions that are provided, as participants take away much more useful and practical information when they have opportunities to engage faculty members and their colleagues in discussions that relate to the material that is presented to their own and their agencies’ work.

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