Studies of participants aged at least 18 years with a conviction or caution for a wide range of illegal sexual behaviours or for offences or violent behaviours with a sexual element, or who had voluntarily sought help for behaviour considered a sexual offence in any jurisdiction, were eligible for inclusion. Studies of individuals convicted or cautioned for homosexuality, transvestism or transexuality were excluded from the review. The overwhelming majority of participants in the included studies were male. Eligible studies were of interventions carried out in criminal justice or mental health care facilities, or in the community. The included studies used cognitive-behavioral programmes, cognitive self-change programmes and covert sensitisation. Comparison groups were given standard care, standard punishment, prison, no treatment or a drug treatment. Controlled trials with either matched or non-matched groups were eligible for inclusion, as were qualitative outcome or process evaluations of interventions, qualitative non-intervention research and studies examining views of treatment experience. For quasi-experimental studies, the outcomes of interest included death, recidivism, global state, behaviour, mental state, engagement with services, adverse effects, prison and service outcomes, satisfaction with treatment, acceptance of treatment, study withdrawals and quality of life. The included studies most commonly reported re-conviction, change in attitudes and risk, re-arrest and completion of treatment.
Two reviewers selected studies for the review in the first instance, then three independent reviewers after examination of the full papers. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion.