The Phoenix Programme

The Phoenix Programme is seen at  One in Four as a core child protection strategy. We work with individuals who exhibit sexually harmful behaviour towards children. While the state provides treatment programmes for convicted sex offenders both in prison and on release, there is a lack of services for non-convicted sex-offenders in the community. The Phoenix Programme aims to fill this gap. We offer structured interventions mostly in group settings. International research shows that good community-based treatment works and reduces the risk of reoffending.


What  the Phoenix Programmes are:

The programmes are specific courses of evidence-based therapeutic interventions aimed at individuals who exhibit sexually harmful behaviour towards children and aim to support the individuals who are impacted by the perpetrator's behaviour.

The types of programmes we offer:

  • A systemic therapeutic approach for individuals who have perpetrated sexual violence against children
  • A systemic therapeutic intervention  for the families directly or indirectly impacted by sexual violence perpetrated by a family member
  • Significant Individual Programme
  • Mediation
  • Family meetings


  • Referrals for the Phoenix Programme come through the HSE, Gardaí, the Court system, self-referrals, solicitors and other professionals.
  • Clients must acknowledge their sexually harmful behaviour.
  • Clients attend an initial meeting to assess their suitability for the programme.

All clients who attend this meeting will be referred to Tusla Child Protection Services. They will not be admitted to the Phoenix Programme until they have met with a Tusla social worker.

The Garda Superintendent in the area in which the offender lives is also notified immediately. 

Outline of Phoenix Programme

The Phoenix Programme is delivered in 3 modules spread over 12 months with each module informing the pathway that led to sexual offending behaviour. The aim is to challenge the offender to understand the harm caused, to gain insight into the thoughts and behaviours that facilitated the abusive behaviour and to support them to build a lifestyle that keeps children safe.

  1. Module 1: Early Life History
  2. Module 2: Sexually Harmful Behaviour History
  3. Module 3: Positive Living Pathway


Once the programme has been satisfactorily completed the individual moves onto the aftercare/intervention programme. The client attends once a month for the first year and then once every three months for up to two years.

Support Groups

It is highly recommended that each participant in the programme nominates a support person from within their family or community. This person attends a support group which runs at the same time with each of the offender intervention modules. The support group focuses on psycho-educative issues, sexually harmful behaviour, child protection and personal support.

Family Support

A key aspect of the Phoenix Programme has always been the involvement of the non-offending family members. Family members, usually the wife or the partner or parent of the offender, are invited to attend a psycho-educative support group which allows them to learn about;

  • characteristics of individuals who offend
  • offending behaviour  
  • pathways that lead to offending behaviour

Group members are supported in exploring family dynamics which allowed the abuse to occur and to understand the role they played in maintaining this dynamic. Understanding the pathways that led to the offending behaviour is paramount in prevention and is at the heart of protecting children from sexual harm.


Inter-Agency Involvement

We are committed to working with other statutory and voluntary agencies to reduce harm and develop national standards of best practice. 

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