Pharmacological treatment of sexual offenders in German outpatient treatment centers

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Abstract

In Germany, depending on a sexual offender’s culpability and the severity of the offence, he/she can be placed either in the forensic-psychiatric or the correctional system. Numbers related to the pharmacological treatment of sexual offenders for the correctional system are missing so far. In sexual offenders, the pharmacological treatment of paraphilic disorders is of special importance. The present study aimed at assessing the prevalence of pharmacological sexual offender treatment in German outpatient treatment centers supervising mainly clients from the correctional sector. An online questionnaire was sent to 112 outpatient treatment centers and 21 provided data relevant for the present study. The included institutions reported about a total of 813 sexual offenders, of whom 200 (24.6%) were treated with pharmacological agents, most frequently antipsychotics (14.8%) and selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors (7.1%). Of the total sample, 26.7% of sexual offenders were diagnosed with a paraphilic – mainly with a pedophilic – disorder. Only 2% were treated with androgen-deprivation therapy. Compared with forensic-psychiatric institutions, only a minority of sexual offenders are treated with medication specifically addressing paraphilic symptomatology. However, the prevalence of paraphilic disorders found in the present study suggests that pharmacological treatment of paraphilic fantasies and behaviors could be of great importance in the correctional sector as well.

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