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Sexual Offending: The impact of the juxtaposition between social constructions and evidence-based approaches

Douglass, Melanie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4665-2034, Hillyard, Susan and Macklin, Anna ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2542-5625 (2022) Sexual Offending: The impact of the juxtaposition between social constructions and evidence-based approaches. Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice. pp. 1-25.

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“Criminals,” particularly sex offenders, are thought of as an indistinguishable, homogenous group by society, despite the variety of offenses they commit, with differing levels of severity, impact, and outcome. Perceptions of criminal behavior also fail to recognize that everyone engages in norm-violating/unlawful/immoral behavior at one time or another. This view of offending, that it is something “other” dangerous people do, combined with the tendency to generalize across varied behaviors and experiences, has resulted in the construct of the sex offender as a “monster.” This has implications for how sex offenders are treated at each stage of the criminal justice process resulting in a problematic approach to sex offenders, one that is not centered on evidence and is, ultimately, not in anyone’s best interests. Specifically, the dialogue results in: lower confession rates, lower conviction rates, ineffective treatment/rehabilitation, and a cycle of violence that causes severe harm within society, as a whole. This paper will address each stage (e.g., investigative interviewing, sentencing, etc.), showing the ways that social constructions have had an adverse effect, how the treatment of sex offenders at each stage is contrary to best practise/the evidence, and will provide recommendations for future research and policy decisions that are in line with the evidence base.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: "This is an accepted version of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice on 21/04/2022 available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/24732850.2022.2054392”
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/24732850.2022.2054392
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/6346

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