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Dr. Lisa Cuthbert
CEO of Prisoner Aid through Community Effort (PACE)
In today’s podcast (episode 33) we will be talking to Lisa Cuthbert, CEO of Prisoner Aid Through Community Effort (PACE).
Lisa has an extensive background in the criminal justice and social care field. As CEO of PACE since 1999, she has overseen the growth and development of PACE as the largest criminal justice not for profit service provider.
PACE was founded in 1969 by volunteers wishing to provide solutions to the problems of men released into homelessness. Lisa believes in working inclusively, with that in mind, PACE widened their supports to provide a three-pronged approach to working with people with convictions for harmful sexual behaviours classified as being – a high risk of reoffending.
The three approaches include (1) the Safer Lives treatment programme, (2) The Foothold Floating Support Service & (3) The Circles of Support & Accountability Programme (which is the first of its kind in Ireland).
Although PACE has a number of other services, our focus was on how they work with sex offenders and if the work they do is successful in terms of recidivism.
Knowing how few victims of sexual crimes receive any form of justice and the difficulty accessing affordable therapeutic services, we are aware that this interview could upset or anger a lot of people. Many victims, quite understandably, may not be happy with offenders receiving any supports at all. However, we believe that if we ever hope to eradicate sexual abuse from all our lives, we simply cannot continue to avoid, (no matter how distasteful it is to us) working with the perpetrators. We need to go to the cause of all this pain and suffering instead of endlessly picking up the pieces after them. The victim should always be the priority in terms of support and services, but it is all in vain if we do lot look this tiger in the eye.
Sexual abuse and the reasons for it are complex. There is no ‘one’ solution, we all must work together and do whatever we can to change our societies current position in terms of the delay in recognition of the magnitude and impact it has on our world.
Joyce, June and Paula