Last week (Feb 6-7th 2020), Dr Hannah Merdian and Dr Ross Bartels attended and presented at the ‘At the Crossroads 2.0’ conference in Antwerp, Belgium. This conference (organised by Thomas More Antwerp, the University Forensic Centre, & NL-ATSA) was titled ‘Future directions in sex offender treatment and assessment‘ and brought together a number of researchers, practitioners, and professionals from around the world to share new ideas, findings, theories, and practical insights on the topic of sexual offending.

Dr Hannah Merdian delivered a workshop on online sexual offending (detailing the new case formulation tool developed as part onlineProtect). Dr Merdian also delivered a keynote talk on the topic of desistance from online sex offending. The talk highlighted the work conducted by Dr Merdian in terms of how the strategies needed to help prevent online sexual offences, as well as the challenges that need to be overcome in order to achieve this.

Dr Ross Bartels also gave a keynote talk. This was on the topic of understanding sexual fantasising, where he outlined his recent ‘Dual-Process Model of Sexual Thinking’ and importance of distinguishing fleeting, spontaneous sexual thought from the deliberate mental act of sexual fantasising. He also discussed recent research on using eye-movements to impair the experience of sexual fantasies, as well as some new work looking at understanding the link between sexual fantasising and behaviour.

Both keynotes were well-received and fostered interesting discussion among the attendees. The other keynotes and workshops were also excellent, all contributing to an inspiring and thought-provoking event.