Non-Offending Partners

Sexual offending against children remains a significant problem. For every child who is abused there is likely to be a woman carer. Women can find themselves in relationships with men who pose a potential risk to children.

Upon discovering the abuse of their child or their partner’s sexual interest in children, a range of emotions are experienced. In these circumstances women can experience a complex and dynamic process of change as the gravity of their situation and the nature of their relationship with the offending partner becomes evident to them.

A “roller coaster” of emotions is experienced, similar to existing models of bereavement and loss. This also leads to self-questioning, distress, and conflict between the social and psychological roles that she occupies i.e. woman, carer and protector of children versus intimate partner. All of which, in turn, can result in the individual feeling pulled in different directions between the needs of her child(ren), her relationship with the offender and a large array of professional agencies, as well as the needs of the woman carer, which are often unknown and unmet.

Why Provide a Service for Non-offending Partners (NOPs)?

Offenders often initiate relationships with women that have children or seek women that are looking to conceive further children.

The impact and consequences of child sexual abuse extends beyond the impact on the victim.  Psychological interventions are available for the child and the offender, but the partners of sexual offenders often receive little help, support, or an opportunity to change and improve their ability to protect children.

There is a growing recognition that focusing solely on the child victim is less effective than helping other secondary victims including the offender’s partner.

Dr Karen Shannon Associates (DKSA) provides a specialised psychological assessment of a woman’s ability to protect her child from the harm posed by others, is often sought by the family courts and is provided by our expert witness service read more

We are very aware of the lack of appropriate services and service gap for this client group, who find themselves in the interface between social care, criminal justice and family courts systems with their own needs regarding their protective skills and psychological well-being unmet.

The Specialist Service We Provide

We provide specialist services aimed to empower individuals to successfully place themselves between the child and the abuser. We are a team of women Clinical Psychologists who have up-to-date theoretical knowledge of the processes of sexual offending, accurate risk assessment / management skills, and the competence to work with complex psychological difficulties and trauma issues (which the women may historically and / or currently still experience). We use Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) read more as a means of making the link between internalised early experiences and repeated patterns in adult relationships.

The service provided is in a women-only, gender-sensitive, non-blaming, safe and supportive environment, which aims to increase women’s abilities to protect their children. It also aims to help women to develop positive relationships with others in similar circumstances to reduce their sense of isolation.

The NOPs service can be tailored to meet the needs of male carers who also need skills and understanding to protect their children.

If you wish to discuss service provision or make a referral, a member of our team is readily available to answer your queries about service provision. Contact