Psychosexual Screening

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Psychosexual Screening


On the 15th of December, 2017 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented their final report to the Governor-General, detailing the culmination of a five-year inquiry into institutional child sexual-abuse and related matters.  As well as providing recommendations specific to a number of religious institutions, the final report also provided a series of ‘Recommendations to all religious institutions in Australia’.  In relation to the psychological assessment and screening of church leaders the following Recommendation was presented:

Recommendation 16.42

Consistent with the Child Safe Standard 5, each religious institution should require that candidates for religious ministry undergo external psychological testing, including psychosexual assessment, for the purposes of determining their suitability to be a person in religious ministry and to undertake work involving children.

Final Report Recommendations – Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – p57

Research indicates that there is not a specific personality profile that is typical of all people who engage in sexually abusive behaviours.  Therefore, it is not possible to conduct psychological profiling in a way that can accurately identify a profile and predict the likelihood of the development of sexually abusive behaviour.  It is possible to identify a number of personality traits or patterns of behaviour that are more prevalent within sexually abusive populations.   However, there will be people who exhibit many of these traits and will not be sexually abusive, and there will be people who do not display any of these traits and yet could be sexually abusive.  It is generally agreed that comprehensive psychosexual assessment by a forensic psychologist for all candidates for religious ministry may not be necessary, however the challenge then becomes identifying individuals who do and do not require a comprehensive psychosexual assessment.

We at themindspace have worked with forensic consultants to develop a cost-effective and efficient assessment that helps to identify individuals who may or may not require a more comprehensive psychosexual assessment.  Our Psychosexual Assessment process functions as an assessment of sexual maturity that is able to triage candidates, providing clear and useful feedback for agencies.

Candidate referred for psychosexual screening

Psychosexual Screening by themindspace

When an individual is identified as not displaying significant risk factors and displays a healthy level of sexual maturity then they are provided with a green rating.  This rating indicates that there is no need for additional review or further assessment.

When an individual is identified as not displaying significant risk factors for sexually abusive behaviour however they display factors of sexual immaturity that may impact on their effectiveness in ministry then they are given an orange rating and appropriate recommendations are provided.

When an individual is identified within the psychosexual screening process as having a number of significant risk-factors then they are given a red rating and are recommended to complete a comprehensive forensic psychosexual assessment.

themindspace psychosexual screening provides a straightforward and cost-effective screening process that addresses the ongoing need for more effective screening without requiring potentially unnecessary and costly comprehensive assessment processes.