During the past years, the number of reported sexual offences has significantly increased. The rehabilitation and management of sex offenders present considerable challenges within a custodial environment. There is an apparent need to focus on sex offenders needs, provide mindful solutions and strengthen the rehabilitation process of persons who commit sexual offences as well as reinforce the capacity of professionals that support them. The overall aim of the Educate & sUpport project is to develop a holistic psychoeducational evaluation of the inmates- sex offenders, as well as, to strengthen and reinforce the capacity of experts working with sex offenders. Activities will lead to the creation of a concrete psycho-educational intervention program, to meet the needs of the inmates- sex offenders, focusing at a holistic intervention and rehabilitation approach. Through the elaborated materials and activities, the project will aim to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and promote efficient re-integration to the society. The main target groups of the Educate & sUpport project are: (1) Experts working with inmates-sex offenders: Prison Educators, Psychologists, Custodial Personnel (2) Individuals, convicted for sexual offences. It is estimated that approximately 300 professionals and 100 sex offenders (through the piloting of the intervention programmes) will be trained and gain the necessary knowledge and tools to build their capacity.
The primary objectives of the project are to:
• Develop and reinforce networks at national, regional, and European level;
• Exchange good practices
• Support and reinforce the capacity of the experts working with sex offenders
• Create common methodologies for intervention
• Foster the development of social and civic competencies of sex-offenders
• Enhance the access, participation, and learning of the target groups.
The project will raise awareness on the importance of introducing holistic psycho-educational training and intervention programs regarding the successful support and management of sex offenders, in order to reintegrate them into society and reduce the chances of reoffending.
The project implementation is divided into 5 phases:
Phase 1: Management and Coordination
Phase 2: Design, development & capacity building
Phase 3: Pilot testing and fine-tuning
Phase 4: Promotion, dissemination, and exploitation activities
Phase 5: Quality control, Monitoring, and Evaluation
The general coordination of the project will be carried out by the Cyprus Prisons Department (i.e. the Coordinator). Local project managers from each participating country will be responsible for monitoring local activities and reporting them to the coordinator. In the course of the project implementation, there will be one learning, teaching/ training activity addressed to the experts working with inmates- sex offenders and trainers from the partner countries of the Educate & sUpport project. The specific target groups will have to be sufficiently and effectively trained and involved into the project philosophy and aims, as well as gain the know-how on the usage and exploitation of the project results. Moreover, four Multiplier Events (three national events and one international Final Conference) will be implemented towards the end of the project implementation, to implement the final version of all results to target groups, stakeholders, authorities, and end-users. All implemented activities within the project will be enhanced through the use of various dissemination tools and channels, implemented by all project partners. Dissemination will maximize the promotion and exploitation efforts, through using social media, webpages, digital materials, articles, and press releases. Finally, to evaluate and fine-tune all elaborated materials and products, the partners will implement internal reviews with staff members of each partner organization, as well as piloting activities with the participation of target groups and stakeholders. Through these activities, remarks, comments, and suggestions will be collected in order to improve and fine-tune the materials of the project. The partnership for the proposed project consists of 5 organizations coming from 4 EU countries (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Romania) representing prison institutions and departments, training providers & NGOs working in the field of criminological intervention, violence prevention, mediation, psychology, pedagogy, and social assistance. All partners already offer training, education, advice, and guidance to the main target groups of the project.
Five main project results will be developed:
• PR1- Educate & sUpport Model of working with inmates- sex offenders: will provide the didactic methodology of the project results and reflect the requirements of the project’s target groups
• PR2- Educate & sUpport ICT tool for competence assessment: will evaluate the experts’ competencies and knowledge in specific fields concerning the support of sex-offenders
• PR3- Educate & sUpport Learning Modules for experts: develop and refine the facilitation and training skills and capacity of the experts to better support and improve the sex-offenders engagement and retention
• PR4- Educate & sUpport Programme Toolkit with intervention programs: aiming to the sex offenders’ rehabilitation and smooth reintegration
• PR5- Educate & sUpport Exploitation Guide: guidance material on how to use the Educate & Support results and tools
The project results will be available in English, Greek, Italian, and Romanian. They will be developed in such a way and method to have the availability to be transferred and adjusted appropriately to other EU countries in the future. All elaborated results will be available on the project website, as open access materials. Interested users will be able to access them freely, without any additional financial cost. The Educate & sUpport project is expected to have a significant and measurable impact on the project participants, participating organizations, target groups, and stakeholders. In general, the expected impact of the project is: – reinforce the experts’ capacity and professional competency level to efficiently manage and support sex offenders – help sex offenders to acquire new social, behavioral, and emotional skills through the trained experts – provide valuable and innovative approaches to help sex offenders to reintegrate into society and achieve their rehabilitation – foster exchange of information and training between European experts – develop cooperation among all partner countries and organizations involved in the partnership – support the possibility to incorporate the Educate & sUpport project products into the practice of EU countries other than the countries of the partner organizations. Finally, some potential longer-term benefits of the project are a general increase of awareness of the dynamic and risks of sex offending and the importance of intervention programs for sexual offenders (national and EU level) and a positive impact on improving reintegration and rehabilitation rates among sexual offenders in the participating countries leading to a decrease in the number of sex offenders reoffending. Information about the EU support and logo will be visible on all project products and promotional materials used during and after the project implementation.