I would like to appeal to all defence lawyers, parole board members and everyone involved in TeWolde Mathin Selassie’s release to stand together and advocate that those who are convicted of serious sexual assault against a child be kept incarcerated until such time they receive the best possible treatment available — The Healthy Sex Programme. If they do not pass the requirements of such a programme, they either must remain in custody until such time they do, or immediately be placed in a mental health facility.
We must ask ourselves why we would be OK with releasing dangerous sex offenders that have no abode? Who will be monitoring this person? What evidence-based, effective treatment has Mr Selassie received? Was it the most effective sexual-offending treatment for paedophiles?
The last I checked, Westgate was using the Sex Offender Treatment Programme, a rolling programme. The rolling SOTP Programme had been replaced by the Core-SOTP, and the Extended-SOTP, and I believe both the core and extended programmes in Britain have been replaced by new programmes.
The SOTP rolling programme was discontinued and replaced in Britain more than a decade ago because it had been found to be ineffective. I understand that offenders who have committed sexual offences against children should go on to complete a Healthy Sex Programme, a 1:1 intense intervention focusing specifically on sexual interest in and sexual preference for children. The rolling (now discontinued), core and extended SOTPs do not focus on children.
Was there a psychological assessment completed? Do we have anything set up that if dangerous child sex offenders have not completed the most effective treatment available, they remain incarcerated? Are clinical case notes, pre and post-intervention measures, post-treatment reports, and evidence-based risk assessments being presented to the parole board? Is Mr. Selassie being released into our community untreated? Will Mr Selassie be fitted with an electronic monitoring device that picks up when he is within ten feet of a child?
If he has no abode, then that tells us there is no monitoring. If he completed his entire sentence, then I’m guessing he has no supervision. That’s a huge risk for our children.
If he did not receive or pass a Healthy Sex Programme, what was the criteria? Why isn’t he admitted to a mental health facility to be monitored, medically treated and protected from himself and others?
How are we going to protect children in this situation? Do we want another scarred child? A life changed for ever? We should all be deeply concerned about the safety of our vulnerable children as of today, February 21, 2022.
• Debi Ray-Rivers is the executive director of the child sexual abuse prevention organisation Saving Children and Revealing Secrets