Pornography, the Internet and sexual offending

Bailey, Alexandra Jayne (2017) Pornography, the Internet and sexual offending. DForenPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis focussed on online sexual offending, particularly the access of indecent images of children (IIOC), and whether certain risk factors associated with contact sexual offending, namely offence-supportive cognitions and deviant sexual interest (DSI), were relevant for individuals who access IIOC.

In references to offence-supportive cognitions for IIOC offenders, the issue is unclear. Research indicates that IIOC offenders do not hold these distortions, whereas the narratives from IIOC offenders indicates that distortions do exist for them. An examination of legal and illegal pornography, and its relationship to offence-supportive attitudes and sexual offence-related behaviour via a systematic review indicated that studies cited a relationship between pornography and sexual offence-related behaviours more often than a relationship with offence-supportive attitudes. However, the review found no statistically significant differences, with either outcome, regarding the number of studies citing a relationship compared to those that did not; so no consistent relationship with pornography was found. The systematic review also highlighted the difficultly in ascertaining the impact of IIOC on individuals due to the limited research comparing IIOC offenders to community controls. However, there did appear to be certain individuals for when pornography access (including IIOC) could be problematic. The case study highlighted the difference between global distortions and those specific to the offence in question, and how this might have relevance to IIOC offenders.

Regarding the second risk factor of interest, DSI with IIOC offenders is not well understood, with research indicating these offenders to be more deviant than some contact sexual offenders, whilst the narratives of IIOC offenders suggest the opposite. Within the research project, DSI was found to be salient, with IIOC offenders differing from controls on multiple measures of DSI. DSI was also highlighted within the case study, regarding its role within the subsequent crossover offending of an IIOC offender; the Internet and accessing IIOC appeared influential in the development of the client’s sexual interest in children, and in turn, their contact offending.

Discussions viewed the importance of measuring DSI within risk assessment, and its inclusion within interventions with IIOC offenders. Consideration was giving to the prevention of IIOC access online to prevent the development of offence-supportive beliefs and behaviour, and to increase the protection of children.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DForenPsy)
Supervisors: Egan, Vincent
Keywords: Internet pornography; Child pornography; Child sexual abuse; Contact sexual offending; Risk of offending; Risk assessment
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: 39369
Depositing User: Bailey, Alexandra
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 14:00
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 09:48

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