nextgenforensic

Examining pedophilic interest as a risk factor for sexual re-offending

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

One of the central preoccupations of forensic psychology is identifying what psychological and social characteristics may contribute to re-offending.  This concept is straightforward and important.  When someone commits an offence, is caught and convicted, and becomes involved in the criminal justice system, we want to understand what separates those who return to criminal behaviour and those who do not.  When we understand this, people working with individuals who have committed sexual offences can help them limit the influence of these problems in their lives and increase the chance that they will desist from crime.

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Examining the latent structure of pedophilic interest

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

In the last five years, there has been a series of attempts by forensic and sex scientists to examine and elucidate the latent structure of sexual interests in prepubescent children, or, pedophilic interest. In this blog post, I will discuss what latent structure is and what the recent science has been finding. In two upcoming blog posts, I will examine the ramifications of this recent latent structure research.

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The link between pedophilia and height

Ian McPhail

If I were to ask the question, “what are some markers of early development experiences that might be linked to the development of pedophilic interests?”  I doubt most people would suggest “physical height”.  But to the contrary, pedophilic sex offenders are, on average, 1.7cm shorter than other groups of people (for example, other sex offender groups, non-offenders).  A more recent study by Fazio and colleagues found pedophilic offenders to be 3.09cm shorter than non-pedophilic offenders.

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Can we analyze word associations in online solicitation transcripts using online software Overview? Part 2

Hollie Richardson

Last year Ian Elliott began investigating the use of free, open-source online text analysis tool Overview (read Ian’s post here) to examine online grooming transcripts. The tool – originally designed for investigative journalists and more recently used by researchers – searches and analyses huge sets of documents simultaneously and provides a visualization of the broad trends and patterns across these documents in the form of ‘topic trees’. This post describes the findings of an updated analysis with a larger sample.

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There is evidence to support the use of Western developed violent risk assessment in China: Responding to Zhou et al. (2015)

Seung Chan Lee and Karl Hanson

The recent article published by Zhou and his colleagues (2015) concluded that there was little evidence to support the use in China of violent risk assessment instruments developed in Western countries. They made two claims: 1) the predictive validity estimates (AUCs) were noticeably lower in China than in Western countries, and 2) the values of predictive validity found in Chinese studies were poor. We believe that the evidence presented in the article does not support either of their claims. This post outlines our rationale for this belief.

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The sense or folly of doing ‘quali’

Ian A. Elliott

We researchers, we’re a manipulative bunch. We like nothing better than taking observable phenomena, controlling them, and bending them to the will of empirical scientific inquisition. However, due to the dynamic nature of our field, it is far from a rarity to encounter both new forms of criminal behavior and new manifestations of well-established criminal behavior.

As important as quantitative research is in our field, there is ample room for other ways in which to explore these complex phenomena and the range of experiences involved in, and resulting from, sexual violence. There is an abundance of qualitative work in forensic psychology seeking to provide a foundational understanding of various phenomena on which we can build measurable theoretical, assessment, and treatment practices.

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