Optimism in the treatment of psychopathic offenders

Charlotte Aelick

The development of treatment models specific to psychopathic offenders marks an exciting and important time for research of psychopathy. Research involving psychopathic offenders has been slow moving and rife with controversy. However, this research has begun to show some hope for positive treatment outcomes. The development of psychopathy-specific treatment programs provides optimism to those tasked with the treatment of psychopathic individuals despite the chronic and stable nature of their dominant personality traits. Given the high rates of re-offending among psychopathic offenders in the community, the importance of any positive treatment outcomes cannot be understated. The positive results we have begun to see within the literature demands increased attention be paid to this area in hopes of reducing the risk of violent, sexual, and general re-offending among psychopathic offenders.

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Transnational child sex offenders: A not so new but distinct type of child sex offender?

Sarah Wefers (@s_wefers on Twitter)

For years, and decades even, so-called “child sex tourism” has been an issue that has attracted public interest. Several offenders, who travelled abroad and sexually abused children there, have gained notoriety.  One example is Richard Huckle, who is believed to have abused up to 200 children in extremely poor parts of Southeast Asia. He gained access to children through churches and orphanages, presenting as a philanthropist and grooming the local communities. He abused this trust to assault children and produced indecent images, which he shared on the Dark Web with other offenders. He even compiled a “manual” giving advice on how best to groom and abuse children from developing countries.

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Current research: Understanding the puzzle of incest

Lesleigh Pullman

The causes of sexual abuse by fathers toward their children are not well understood. Factors related to family dynamics, such as parenting style, could be a useful explanation. More research is needed to understand how family dynamics may play a role in father-child incest.

The purpose of our research is to test explanations of why some men abuse their children. We are trying to find out if fathers who commit sex offences against their own children are different from fathers who do not commit such offences. Finding out more about these possible explanations for incest can help us to better understand the motivation behind these offences and, ultimately, how to reduce them through assessment and treatment.

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Female child sexual abusers – how are they getting away with it in organisational contexts?

Andrea Darling

Hardly a week goes by nowadays when there isn’t a newspaper article covering the latest female teacher to ‘engage in a sexual relationship’ with a pupil. Examples can be found in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

By female child sexual abusers in organisational contexts, I’m referring to those women in positions of trust with children and young people and abuse within the organisations and institutions in which they work, either in paid positions or voluntarily. This includes teachers, social workers, nurses, sports coaches, nursery workers, and care staff for example.
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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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Going from good to great

David Prescott

This blog results from a year or so of conversations with a very patient Kelly Babchishin. Since the emergence of the NextGenForensic blog, I have come to think of myself increasingly as the older generation. This is not just bemused self-deprecation; the existence of a next generation raises questions for the rest of us. How do we make the most of career transitions? How do we succeed and fail the most effectively that we can? And for some of us, how do we become elders in the field without simply becoming cranky oldsters? As an emerging professional, I sometimes experienced cruel undermining by those who should have mentored me. Michael Seto’s message to newer forensic psychologists on this blog last year was an outstanding start to many of these conversations.

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Reinventing the wheel: Testing a new CoSA-based sex offender intervention

John Vaccaro

In 1994, a small-town event catalyzed the creation of a new method of supervising sexual offenders in the community. At that time, the residents of Ontario, Canada became aware that a high risk sexual offender, who had molested multiple children, was being released with no supervisory restrictions (Canada’s equivalent of “maxing out”). This led to immense upheaval in the local community. The situation seemed irresolvable until a Mennonite pastor of a local congregation offered to supervise the offender and keep him accountable through regular meetings, checkups, and guidance. After the situation turned into a success story – the offender was never rearrested – the Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario and the Correctional Service of Canada partnered to create what is now called Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA).

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Incest: What we know (and don’t know)

Lesleigh Pullman

Although this topic definitely does not make for good dinner conversation, attempting to understand the causes of sexual offending against children is an ongoing endeavour. But we’ve done pretty well so far. Much is known about the causes of child sexual abuse generally. Two key motivational factors that have been highlighted are atypical sexual interests and antisociality. However, much less is known about the causes of incest. Incestuous sexual offending is puzzling not only from a social and moral perspective (i.e., the incest taboo), but also from a biological perspective. Inbreeding depression (what happens when we have offspring with close relatives) increases the likelihood of birth defects and infant mortality. Presumably, we have evolved strong mechanisms for avoiding incest because sex with our relatives is bad for the survival of our genes!

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Prototypes in sexual crime discourse

Craig Harper

Media reports inform and enhance public attitudes toward a host of social phenomena, not least sexual offending. For instance, the News of the World reacted to the public’s horror toward the killing of schoolgirl Sarah Payne in 2000 by printing the names and locations of convicted child sex offenders, playing on and amplifying the public’s feelings about the relative riskiness of sex offenders.

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