Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Richard Walsh-Bowers

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This thesis is an utilization-focussed evaluation of the Sexual Offender Program of Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) of Kitchener, ON. The evaluation was guided by a steering committee consisting of program stakeholders. The main goals of the study were to examine whether the program offers services which correspond to the program’s three newly stated outcome objectives and to gain program participants’ and volunteers’ suggestions to improve the program services. The study is also aimed to examine how well participants achieved the three program objectives. Information for the evaluation was gained through focus group interviews with program participants, telephone interviews with support persons of the program participants, questionnaires completed by program participants, and questionnaires completed by volunteer group facilitators. The assessment of the program was very positive. The findings suggested that the program services match the newly-stated outcome objectives of the program. In addition, program participants and their support persons reported that the three objectives are outcomes of program for participants. An additional outcome of the program which was apparent in the data was the participants’ “sense of belonging” and feelings of empowerment. The recommendations of the evaluation for the program are: 1) to state “to increase participants’ sense of empowerment to cope with their lives” as a primary outcome-objective; 2) the program may wish to provide detailed descriptions on how it teaches specific Relapse Prevention (RP) skills. RP is a self-control program (that originated in the field of addictive disorders) designed to teach individuals who are trying to change their behaviour how to anticipate and cope with the problem of relapse, or as in the case of sex offenders, the problem of re-offending (George & Marlatt, 1989); 3) the program may wish to mandate that within each group term that the specific RP skills (e.g. recognizing high-risk situations, understanding their offence cycles) be addressed; 4) to develop or find in the research literature short and simple measures of specific RP skills to administer at the intake assessment and termination from group therapy to allow the program greater credibility in the view of funding sources; 5) to develop a council of program participants to consult on strategies to further involve participants in the program; 6) to improve SATP’s volunteer training in the area of the RP skill topics; and 7) to state as a program mandate, “to conduct research in the area of empowerment and sexual offender treatment.” The final conclusion of the evaluation was that the Sexual Offender program of SATP is an unique service that successfully combines the cognitive-behavioural principles of the Relapse Prevention model of sex offender treatment with a self-determining and empowering approach for its participants.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season