sites can be found to provide more residential treatment for sex
Home Office minister Hilary Benn, is designed to reduce sex offences
by extending the number of places available for residential
treatment. It will include an up-to-date assessment of how many
offenders require residential treatment, alongside non-residential
treatment in the community and treatment in prison. It will also seek
to establish a consensus that public protection can only be improved
further if potential locations can be readily identified and
The National Probation Directorate also announced today that the
Wolvercote Clinic, run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), will
cease to operate at Horton Hospital in Epsom, due to redevelopment.
Well-established contingency arrangements for the nine remaining
residents at the Wolvercote Clinic are being implemented. The clinic
and the National Probation Service will relocate residents separately
out of Surrey where their treatment will be completed on a
non-residential basis and, for those under licence or supervision,
their formal contact with the authorities will continue. In each
case, plans have been developed with the help of local police and
probation areas, and staff from the clinic will continue to work with
those past residents to reduce the risk of re-offending.
The National Probation Service will continue to provide financial
support to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to ensure they retain their
skilled staff and have the capacity to remain a key partner for the
National Probation Service. They will continue to be involved in the
establishment of 'Stop It Now' and Circles of Support and
Accountability. Staff will also continue to provide training and
consultancy in child protection to probation, police and others.
Hilary Benn also announced that the possible use of the Silverlands
site near Chertsey for the clinic will not now be pursued, but the
National Probation Service will offer to continue the dialogue with
local residents to see what can be learnt and how community
involvement might be better managed in the future. Responsibility for
the property and its future use will remain with the Department of
Hilary Benn, minister for community and custodial provision, said:
'The National Probation Service will now undertake a thorough look at
how residential sex offender treatment might be run in the future and
start planning for new provision which is wider than the single
clinic we have had so far. This is an important part of the service's
duty to protect the public.'
Eithne Wallis, national director for the National Probation Service
'We know that there is always going to be a degree of local
opposition to any site we pick, but we first need to have a debate -
away from the discussion of any particular site - to reach a
consensus about why and how many of these establishments we need. We
have a duty to protect the public and we need the provision to take
on that work.
'Given the important work that the Wolvercote Clinic does in child
protection, we are disappointed that we have not been able to achieve
a smooth transition for its relocation. We will however continue to
support the Clinic and will, as a priority, work with the Lucy
Faithfull Foundation so they retain their valuable staff until a new
site can be found.'
Hilary Eldridge, director of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation said:
'It is with great regret that we have to close Wolvercote without a
designated site for relocation. This is disappointing given that we
have been working collaboratively with government departments for
several years to establish a permanent site.
'We welcome the National Probation Service's commitment to reopen
Wolvercote as a matter of priority and to expand the number of
residential places available nationally. We value the jointly agreed
contingency arrangements which ensure out-patient treatment of
ex-residents and employment for our expert team. Timing is of the
utmost importance. If we can reopen quickly then the expertise will
be retained and the Clinic can continue to treat the men who need it.
'The way forward lies in greater inter-departmental and multi-agency
joint ownership of the problem and determination to succeed, together
with greater public education about the prevention and management of
child sexual abuse.'
Valerie Howarth, Lucy Faithfull Foundation vice chair of
trustees said: 'Child sexual abuse is a major problem: we need more
resources, not less. Whilst acknowledging the excellent work done by
the Probation Service, the closure of Wolvercote represents a
reduction in available services and Wolvercote fills an important
niche in the range of treatment.'
- The Lucy Faithfull Foundation which runs the Wolvercote Clinic is a
charity dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual
- Wolvercote treats men who civil and criminal courts, police, social
services, the Prison and Probation Service have judged as needing
residential treatment. Research shows it is effective in reducing
their risk to children. Wolvercote also offers a residential
assessment-only service providing detailed information about
treatment need and risk, allowing public protection agencies and
local communities to better manage that risk.
- Wolvercote has been at its existing site for seven years with over 300
men attending for assessment or treatment. In this time there has
been no incidence of any local child being put at risk by the
- The clinic is supported by local child protection agencies who
value its help on local issues.
- The clinic is internationally renowned, using its expertise to
provide training placements and advice to agencies across Europe
about child sexual abuse. This includes sexual abuse prevention,
work with children and families and sex offender assessment,
treatment and management.