Perceptions around adult and child sex offenders and their rehabilitation as a function of education in forensic psychology independent of traditionalism and perpetrator sex

Journal article


Rothwell, Megan, Fido, Dean and Heym, Nadja 2020. Perceptions around adult and child sex offenders and their rehabilitation as a function of education in forensic psychology independent of traditionalism and perpetrator sex. Forensic Science International: Mind and Law. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsiml.2020.100039
AuthorsRothwell, Megan, Fido, Dean and Heym, Nadja
Abstract

Literature pertaining to individuals with sexual convictions typically reports punitive views about their crimes, sentences, and effectiveness of rehabilitation. However, such perceptions may be a function of offense demographics, such as victim age and perpetrator sex, and perceiver characteristics, such as their traditionalism or forensic awareness/education. Participants (N=101; 60% forensic psychology student; 40% general public) read online vignettes related to sexual offences (manipulating perpetrator sex and victim age), and completed measures of perceptions of sex offenders, perceived rehabilitation efficacy and traditionalism. Members of the general population (without forensic education background) reported harsher views towards individuals with sexual convictions and their rehabilitation, relative to students of forensic psychology, independent of their greater traditionalism. There was no main effect of or interaction with perpetrator sex. Whilst participants endorsed more negative perceptions towards sex offenders of child than adult victims, this did not extent to differences in perceptions regarding their rehabilitation. Findings reported here indicate a need for greater understanding as to the factors that might moderate perceptions towards individuals with sexual convictions, and have implications for the promotion of sex offender rehabilitation programmes. Understanding the root of such public attitudes is a key step for creating and improving associated policies.

Keywordspublic perceptions; sex offenders; rehabilitation; female sex offenders; victim age; traditionalism
Year2020
JournalForensic Science International: Mind and Law
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0379-0738
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsiml.2020.100039
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/625493
http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
hdl:10545/625493
Publication dates15 Dec 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jan 2021, 16:29
Accepted08 Dec 2020
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CC0 1.0 Universal

ContributorsNottingham Trent University and University of Derby
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