For over a decade, professionals working in sex offender civil commitment programs (or in states contemplating such programs) gathered for an annual “Summit“ held in conjunction with the annual Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) conference. Following these Summit experiences, the informal process of information sharing continued through emails and telephone conference calls throughout the year. Much of the initial networking activities were ad hoc with little formal structure. The pros and cons of providing an organizational structure to support networking, information sharing, and cross fertilization of ideas among sex offender civil commitment programs were debated at several Summit meetings.
A Steering Committee was identified and assigned two tasks at the 2005 Summit meeting in Salt Lake City. The first task was to explore Sexually Violent Predator (SVP)-related issues with ATSA, such as proposing an SVP related pre-conference workshop at the annual convention. The second task was to develop recommendations for the attendees at the following conference regarding how an organization might be structured.
The first ATSA pre-conference workshop on civil commitment program issues was held in 2006 and proved to be very well attended and favorably received. The attendees agreed to accept the recommendation from the Steering committee to form the Sex Offender Civil Commitment Program Network (SOCCPN). Our Annual Summit meetings have evolved into conferences of their own with experts in sex offender civil commitment sharing their knowledge and experience. Conference presentations range from administrative and legal issues, to evaluation, treatment, and ethical considerations. Each conference strives to provide information relevant to the wide array of professionals in the field.
We invite you to join us in striving to understand current practice and research, ensure the most effective programming possible, and support each other in negotiating this complex and evolving area.