HC Deb 06 February 2002 vol 379 c978W
Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for voluntary chemical castration of habitual sex offenders. [26924]

Beverley Hughes

At any one time a small number of sex offenders will be being treated with antilibidinal drugs in prison. Research has shown these drugs to be effective only where libido is an important contributor to a person's offending behaviour. The majority of sex offenders, who act from feelings of rage, power or violence, would not be expected to benefit from this form of treatment.

Treatment with antilibidinal drugs in prison is initiated only after assessment by, and on the recommendation of, a consultant psychiatrist specialising in the treatment of sex offenders, taking account of the nature of the particular individual's sex offending and whether the likely benefits of treatment outweighed the risks and side effects. Treatment would only go ahead with the informed consent of the prisoner concerned. The specialist would also be expected to advise on arrangements for the continuation of treatment on the prisoner's release, as the drugs need to be taken regularly to maintain their effect.

The national health service has commissioned a study of the feasibility of undertaking further research on the effectiveness of a different group of drugs in the management of sex offenders in both prison and the community.