Saturday, September 19, 2015

NOTA Annual Conference, Dublin 2015

The annual NOTA conference took place from the 16th - 18th of September in Dublin, this years theme was "Sexual Offending Research and Practice: sharing our knowledge to make a difference". The conference was a real mix of research, practice and engagement with colleagues, as well as the general public. In this blog I am going to take you on a whistle stop tour of the event, hold on!

This years key note addresses where a combination of academic research, practice and innovate appraoches. The plenary sessions covered a range of topics including online Child Sexual Abuse, grooming, risk assessment and Restorative Justice in sexual harm. The Keynotes included, Micheal Seto discussong innovations in work with online sex offenders, highlihting his new Child Pornography Offender Risk Tool (CPORT); Gray O'Reilly discussing his work on CBT with use through the compute game as well as App called "Pesky gNATS"; Anne Marie McAlinden discussing her ongoing research into the role of gooming Child Sexual Abuse; Duncan sheppard and Mark Blandford discussing the development and implementation of the polices Active Risk Management system (ARMS); Marir Keenan discussing the use of restortative justice in working with adults who commit sexual harm, being joined on stage by a victim of sexual harm who had progressed through the process; Vince Mercer discussing the role of Restorative Justice with youths who have commited sexual harm andsome of the challenges of working in this way with this group; and last, but not means leat, the Geese Theatre Company who put on a play about Restorative Justice with youths who commit sexual harm reinforcing alot of the evidence and practice that had been discussed in the earlier papers.

The workshops spanned a full ranging of topics including, Risk and Risk Assessment (Matthew Lister; Micheal Seto; Roger Kennington & Gail McGrergor; Hazel Kemshall; Ioan Ohlsson), Online sexual offending (Danielle Kettleborough; Hannah Merdian; Derek Perkins ), youth who commit sexual harm (Elizabeth Latourneau; Anne Marie McAlinden; Libby Ashurst; Mark Rivett & Stacey McDonald ), and Circles of Support and Accountability (Kieran McCartan; Hazel kemshall; Bob Webb; Deborah Marshall & Carol Butler) to name a few. The workshops where agood mix of research, evaulation, practical working, professional learning and knowledge exchange.

In addition to the traditional cnference activities NOTA 2015 also had a series of special interest acativities, including (1) NOTA's first public engagement event which welcomed 60+ members of the community into the conference to discuss prevting and responding to sexual harm with  an all Ireland and International panel [Michal Seto, Niall Muldoon (Childrens Obudsman for Ireland), Elizabeth Latourneau and Sharon Beattie (Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland)]; & (2) a session by the International working group on best practice in management of online sexual offending (Maggie Brennan, Hannah Merdian & Derek Perkins) which updated and highlighted the work that they d in sharing, as well as developing, good practice in defining, understanding, preventing, responding to, treating and legislating around those individuals who commit sexual harm online.

As you can see NOTA 2015 fitted a massive amount of material in across three days, watch the blog over the next couple of months for blog posts from authors who attended the conference [I did some scouting].I have come away informed, refreshed and looking forward to next years meeting in Brighton (28th - 30th September 2016). On to the next conference in the season ATSA 2015 in Montreal from the 14th - 17th of October.

Kieran McCartan, Ph.D

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