I was presented with an interesting inquiry this week that has proven to be a very difficult question to answer. Who services individuals who are pre-offenders? A pre-offender is someone who has not yet committed an offense against anyone but is having thoughts and inclinations to do so. This week I was put in the position of having to address this issue when I had to attempt to find treatment for an individual who fit this description. While many organizations, like RCASA, do not serve offenders and those who want to harm others, where do people turn when they haven’t harmed anyone but would like to receive treatment before they do?
After dozens of phone calls and a continuous string of “we can’t serve them here”, I started to think about the number of people that I see on a weekly basis who have been sexually assaulted. It made me wonder how many pre-offenders may have gotten help before they made the decision to assault someone if there were more resources available to serve them. I know many offenders would still choose to offend even if help were available to them, but how many men, women, and children would be spared experiencing this kind of crisis if more of these kinds of services existed? It would not spare all, but it certainly has the possibility of sparing some. That possibility is worth creating more services to treat pre-offenders.