Moral panics or monstrous offenders?: balancing public perceptions of sexual offenders with their offence patterns

Wynn, Chelsea (2018) Moral panics or monstrous offenders?: balancing public perceptions of sexual offenders with their offence patterns. DForenPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to provide a broad overview of contemporary challenges in relation to sexual offending, with specific focus being placed on the need to balance the public’s perceptions of those convicted of sexual offences with the reality of their offence patterns, to determine what risk society really faces from these individuals. In doing this, it incorporates diverse methods, including a systematic review, an empirical research study, an individual case study and a critique of a psychometric measure. Following a general introduction in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 presents a systematic evaluation of 13 studies investigating public perceptions of sexual offenders, with specific focus on comparing public demographic variables as predictors of these attitudes. It was found that overall; the public’s perceptions were negative, with beliefs about high recidivism rates amongst other misperceptions. Demographic characteristics were shown to be inconsistent in predicting punitive judgments. Level of educational attainment was the only demographic variable investigated that was consistently associated, with higher levels of education resulting in more positive perceptions. In Chapter 3, the offence patterns of repeat sexual offenders are investigated, including an analysis of whether this population escalate, de-escalate or remain stable over time. The results indicate an overall pattern of stability, indicating that sexual recidivists commit the same category of offence from one offence to the next. However, escalation was also common, a finding that warrants further exploration. Chapter 4 explores the factors that contribute to the onset and escalation of the offence behaviours of a repeat sexual offender, through the use of psychological formulation. Results indicated that a different set of risk factors contributed to the onset of the client’s offending compared to those that contributed to escalation. Chapter 5 evaluates the Community Attitudes Toward Sex Offenders (CATSO) scale (Church, Wakeman, Miller, Clements, & Sun, 2008), an assessment measure used in Chapter 2. Finally, Chapter 6 provides a discussion and conclusion to the thesis, drawing together the implications of the research.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DForenPsy)
Supervisors: Duff, Simon
Keywords: Sex crimes; Sex offenders; Public opinion; Offence behaviours
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WM Psychiatry
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 51147
Depositing User: Wynn, Chelsea
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2018 14:02
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 17:16
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/51147

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