2019 Keynote Speakers

KN1 - Professor Theresa Gannon

Theresa A. Gannon, DPhil, CPsychol (Forensic) Professor of Forensic Psychology and Director of the Centre for Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP) at the University of Kent, UK

Theresa A. Gannon, DPhil, CPsychol (Forensic) is Professor of Forensic Psychology and Director of the Centre for Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP) at the University of Kent, UK. Theresa also works as a Practitioner Consultant Forensic Psychologist specialising in sexual offending for the Forensic and Specialist Service Line, Kent and Medway Social Care and Partnership Trust. Theresa has published over 120 chapters, articles, books, and other scholarly works in the areas of male and female-perpetrated offending. She is particularly interested in the assessment and treatment of individuals who have offended sexually. Theresa is lead editor of several books including Aggressive Offenders’ Cognition: Theory, Research, and Treatment (2007: Wiley), Female Sexual Offenders: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (2010: Wiley-Blackwell), and Sexual Offending: Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation (2017: Wiley-Blackwell). 


Keynote Title: Are sexual offence programmes working? What does the latest evidence tell us?

At present, the sexual offending field is experiencing a turbulent time. In 2017, a Ministry of Justice Evaluation showed that the seemingly evidence-based prison service Core SOTP had not had its intended effect of reducing sexual offences. This has led to much debate about whether treatment for individuals who sexually offend actually works and confusion about ‘best practice’. In this talk, I will present the latest meta-analysis evidence (Gannon, Olver, Mallion, & James, 2019) on whether treatment ‘works.’ I will then examine some of the key research and practice areas that I believe require consideration in order to ensure the sexual offending field moves forward positively.  

KN2 - Karl Hanson

Karl Hanson, Ph.D., C.Psych, Adjunct Research Professor – Psychology Department, Carleton University and Ryerson University

Karl is one of the leading researchers in the field of risk assessment and treatment for individuals with a history of sexual offending. Originally trained as a clinical psychologist, he has published more than 175 articles, including several highly influential reviews.  He is lead author of the most widely used measures for assessing the risk and needs of individuals with a history of sexual offending (Static-99R; Static-2002R; STABLE-2007). He has received career contribution awards from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Public Safety Canada, the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders, and the Criminal Justice Section of the Canadian Psychological Association. Based in Ottawa, Canada, he worked for Public Safety Canada between 1991 and 2017, and is now adjunct faculty in the psychology departments of Carleton University (Ottawa) and Ryerson University (Toronto). 

Abstract information to follow.

KN2 - Don Grubin

Emeritus Professor of Forensic Psychiatry – Newcastle University

I am Emeritus Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Trust. I am responsible for the training and supervision of all probation and police polygraph examiners involved in sex offender testing.

KN3 - Anne-Marie McAlinden

Professor of Law and Criminal Justice and Director of Research, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast.

Anne-Marie McAlinden is Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, and Director of Research in the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast. Anne-Marie is a world-leading expert on sexual offending and the author or co-author of over 50 publications as well as three sole-authored books: ‘The Shaming of Sexual Offenders’ (Hart, 2007), awarded the British Society of Criminology Book Prize 2008; ‘“Grooming” and the Sexual Abuse of Children’, published in the Clarendon Studies in Criminology Series (Oxford University Press, 2012); and ‘Children as “Risk”: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Children and Young People’ (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  She has been the principal or co-investigator on a number of funded research projects including a recently completed three-year ESRC study on ‘Sex Offender Desistance’; and currently ‘Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past’, where one of the case studies is institutional child abuse.  She has also acted as a consultant to local criminal justice agencies on sex offender risk management and most recently gave expert evidence to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on ‘Grooming and Entrapment.’ Anne-Marie has been interviewed for and cited in The New York Times and The Economist.

Keynote Title: Peer-to-Peer Abuse: ‘Normal’, ‘Risky’ or ‘Harmful’?

Peer-based sexual behaviours, especially those involving digital media, are among the fastest growing areas of concern for front-line professionals in the area of child sexual abuse. It is a topic, however, which is often subject to much misconception as well as public ‘panic.’  Drawing on a recently published monograph (Children as ‘Risk’, CUP, 2018) and research funded by NOTA, this key note address examines some of the complexities of peer-based sexual behaviours in a range of settings.  It considers the nature and extent of contemporary forms of peer-to-peer sexual exploitation and abuse which challenge traditional conceptions of how society regards ‘children’ and ‘victims’ more broadly. Stemming from a range of social, cultural and technological changes, it also examines why concerns about harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) by children have recently emerged.  Based on these factors, it draws out the legal, policy and practical challenges of negotiating the boundaries between ‘normal’, ‘risky’ or ‘harmful’ sexual behaviour. In particular, it highlights how the changing normative context for peer-based sexual behaviour may blur the boundaries between coercion and consent, both for professionals as well as children and young people themselves.

KN4 - Carol Carson

Manager of The AIM Project

Carol Carson is an independent social work consultant with over 30 years of experience working in safeguarding children services. She has also specialised in the field of harmful sexual behaviours (HSB) for the last 20 years and is currently offering management services to the AIM Project. For the AIM Project she has written guidance on understanding and managing sexual behaviours in Education, Foster and Residential Care and is the author of the AIM Under 12s Assessment and Intervention Guidance. She is currently working on developing a risk assessment model for assessing young people on the autistic spectrum who have concerning sexual behaviours.

Keynote Title: Understanding and working with children under 12 years old with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours

This presentation will provide a brief introduction to the key issues raised in practice when working with children under 12 years old and their families, where there are concerns about problematic or harmful sexual behaviours.

KN4 - Rhonda Turner

Principal Clinical Psychologist & NIAPP National Co-Manager, National Inter Agency Prevention Programme (NIAPP), Tusla

Rhonda Turner is the Principal Clinical Psychologist and National Co- Manager of the National Inter Agency Prevention Programme (NIAPP) provided by the Irish Child & Family Agency (Tusla); which specializes in Assessment & Treatment of children and young people who have exhibited sexually harmful behaviour, and their parents/caregivers.  NIAPP was established in 2016 and is developing a national service for the Republic of Ireland, aiming to bring together all of Ireland’s existing services for this population and develop services where none exist.  Additionally, on behalf of NIAPP, Rhonda is integrally involved as Consultant to TUSLA’s specialist residential centre for such young people.  Prior to working with Tusla, Rhonda co-coordinated the Assessment Service of St. Louise’s Unit, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, where she worked for over 20 years.  St. Louise’s Unit conducts Assessment of allegations of CSA  made by children, with a view to forming an opinion as to the child’s credibility; and also provides therapy to victims and their parents/carers.   Rhonda has presented at national and international conferences, speaking on a range of issues connected to both victims of child sexual abuse and juveniles who have sexually harmed others.  She has specialized in the area of Child Sexual Abuse and Harmful Sexual Behaviour for over 25 years and is an experienced clinician, lecturer, trainer, researcher, and advisor to the criminal justice system. 

KN4 - Gareth McGibbon

Independent Social Worker, McGibbon Consultancy & Safeguarding Services

Gareth McGibbon is an independent social worker, consultant and trainer with over 20 years experience in the fields of sexual abuse, family violence and child protection. His experience in public protection, safeguarding and programmes of intervention within both the criminal justice and child protection arenas is employed locally, nationally and internationally.

KN 4 Title: The Capacity & Ability to Supervise and Protect Framework (CASP)

A structured professional judgement framework for practitioners completing an assessment of a proposed carer’s capacity and ability to supervise and protect a child at risk of sexual or domestic violence.

The determination of a parent’s or carer’s capacity to protect a child from a risk of sexual or domestic violence is often incredibly challenging for social workers to conclude upon with any objective defensibility. Professional judgement alone is often no better than chance[1] and practitioners are prone to making errors when making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Furthermore, non-abusing carer’s frequently feel unfairly judged for their decision to remain in or enter into a relationship with either an adjudicated offender or a person of concern (POC).

It is incumbent upon social workers to ensure that their decision making is always in the best interests of the child. Social workers face increasing challenges to their decisions and rightly so as children’s lives and family life are at stake. To that end there has been an increasing move within the field towards the use of structured professional judgement tools to assist social workers in collating and analysing complex information in a systemic way so as to help minimise bias and enable more informed, proportionate decision making.

Structured professional judgments (SPJ) are universally recognised as an effective way to improve the quality and transparency of professional decision making. SPJ frameworks draw together factors for which there is research evidence of relevance. They are useful not only for supporting evidence-based practice, but also for increasing the transparency of decision making for the purposes of clinical governance as they provide a written set of definitions to facilitate inter-rater reliability and they can be validated against criterion measures to show that the instrument does what it claims to do.

The Capacity & Ability to Supervise and Protect (CASP) framework has been developed by utilising the author’s extensive years of experience nationally and internationally working within the area of child and public protection. Its origins were triggered by practitioners concerns that parenting capacity assessment tools were disproportionately influencing social worker’s decisions regarding family constitution in those cases where a person had engaged in sexual or domestic abuse. Many of these tools failed to consider specific issues relevant to the dynamics of intimate personal violence or child sexual abuse, including the capacity and ability of the primary carer to hold the person of concern accountable for their behaviour and supervise their interaction with their child/ren effectively.

The CASP provides practitioners (social workers, psychologists, risk assessors) with a structured and evidenced based approach to assess a proposed carer’s capacity and ability to supervise a person of concern’s interaction with a child at risk, their resilience to manipulation of potential vulnerabilities and their ability to meet the child’s needs for safety, security and appropriate development.

This keynote presentation will examine;

  • The development of the CASP.
  • Provide an overview of the CASP approach.
  • Review the assessment domains and associated items.
  • Consider the efficacy of the CASP across diverse cultural contexts.
  • Examine how the CASP can inform and address conclusions of needs and strength.

[1] Dorsey et al 2008 cited in Barlow et al 2012)

KN5 - Erick Janssen

Professor at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, University of Leuven, Belgium and is Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, USA


KN 5 Title: A myriad of forces: The impact of sexual arousal and other emotions on sexual behavior and decision making.

KN6 - Gibraltar, NI, Republic of Ireland, Scotland E&W Police representatives.

The aim of this key note discussion will be to give delegates an opportunity to explore the exchanging of information between different jurisdictions relating to people accused and convicted of sexual offending. There will be Police representatives from England, Gibraltar, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to discuss the challenges and opportunities which exist for law enforcement in exchanging Police information between the different jurisdictions. With the impact of Brexit still uncertain this is a unique opportunity for people to listen and ask questions of law enforcement representatives about some of the complexities and solutions which have been arrived at post Brexit. The exchanging of information is equally important to law enforcement, Probation, Social Services or Prison when conducting an assessment of risk. This key note will provide conference attendees with an insight into the strategic and operational exchanging of information across jurisdictional boundaries.

KN7 - Geese Theatre Company

Geese Theatre Company is a team of actors and group workers who present interactive theatre and facilitate workshops, staff training and consultation in criminal justice, forensic mental health and social welfare settings. The company has an international reputation for innovative work in the sexual offending field and specialises in groupwork with adults who have committed sexual offences and adolescents who display harmful sexual behaviour.