The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice provides youth with the Sexually Harmful Behavior Intervention Program (SHBIP). This program addresses youth that have been charged with a sexual offense or have received a Psychosexual Evaluation that recommends this intervention.
The Sexually Harmful Behavior Program uses the Relapse Prevention Model along with Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions. These modalities have been validated within the professional literature as being the most effective with this population. Analyses to the present indicate that cognitive-behavioral and community based methods are the most effective means by which to reduce the likelihood of future sexual harm. Additionally, group therapy has been found to also be the most effective in treating adolescents that have displayed inappropriate sexual behavior.
The SHBIP is offered in all of Georgia’s Youth Development Centers (YDC’s) after the youth have been adjudicated. Youth are assessed in the beginning phases of treatment using a review of their psychosocial history, static and dynamic factors in order to assess risk and actual offense. During the active phase of treatment, youth receive group intervention twice a week, and individual a minimum of twice a month. Quarterly assessments are conducted as well as family therapy sessions (monthly) for transitional planning for the community. Length of the program is typically 12 months, depending on progress.
Treatment for sexual aggression should involve family members whenever possible. After all, a critical element is the development of transferrable skills that the adolescent can put into practice in their home and community.
Sexually Harmful Behavior Treatment Stages
The duration of a youth's active participation in the program is dependent on the successful completion of the identified objectives of each four stages:
Stage 1 - Recognize: Begins the process of accepting responsibility for individual actions and exhibiting responsible behavior in group.
Stage 2 - Learn: Challenges the thinking errors or excuses that allowed the youth to begin and continue sexually aggressive behaviors, and begin the process of developing victim empathy.
Stage 3 - Practice: Youth begins to develop healthy outlets and more pro-social ways to cope with identified high-risk situations.
Stage 4 - Plan: Youth understands how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors lead to offending patterns and develops strategies to avoid and escape high-risk situations after release.
Stage 5 - Accountability: Continue to use skills learned in treatment and participate in supervision in the community.