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Legal and Ethical issues when using Antiandrogenic Pharmacotherapy with Sex Offenders

Author(s): Karen Harrison

Journal: Sexual Offender Treatment
ISSN 1862-2941

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Antiandrogen | pharmacologic castration | sexual offenders | ethical issues

The treatment of sex offenders and more specifically the treatment of high-risk sex offenders is a subject of great importance for practitioners, professionals, policymakers and the public at large. Whilst treatment is thought to largely centre upon cognitive-behavioural methods and other psychotherapy techniques, in more recent years the use of pharmacotherapy has also begun to gain ground. Current debate often centres upon how effective such treatment is; with both supporters and opponents of its use existing. This article, however, does not specifically look at whether pharmacotherapy as a method of treatment with sex offenders actually works, but rather looks at the legal and ethical issues surrounding its use. In particular it considers issues such as whether the treatment should be voluntary or mandatory; whether it should indeed even be classified as treatment or should instead be seen as punishment and finally whether it should be used with convicted offenders or made freely available to all.
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