nextgenforensic

Long-term reconviction rates for individuals convicted of indecent image offences appear to be low

Ian A. Elliott

Although they’re a relatively small proportion of individuals convicted of sexual offences there is increasing concern about the behaviours and management of individuals with offenses relating to indecent images of children (IIOC) online. The consensus in the literature appears to be that, contrary to popular notions, sex offenders don’t reoffend at high rates and that the rate for IIOC offenders is lower than those who commit contact sexual offences. This post summarises the findings of our new study into (relatively) long-term reconviction rates for IIOC users.

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“The children in the images were not harmed”: Permission-giving thoughts relating to child sexual exploitation material offending

Danielle Kettleborough

Following on from the recent blog post detailing the development of the Children, Internet, and Sex Cognitions (CISC) scale, this post will further explore the findings from this research, focusing on the permission-giving thoughts endorsed by individuals with an offence related to child sexual exploitation material (CSEM).

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Understanding the cognitions of child sexual exploitation material offenders

Danielle Kettleborough

The endorsement of offence-supportive cognitions has been discussed as a contributing factor in initialising and maintaining sexually abusive behaviour against children.  Ward and Keenan (1999) propose that, for child sex offenders, their offence-supportive cognitions emerge from five implicit theories, about the nature of their victims, the world, and themselves. These five theories are labelled Children as Sexual Objects, Entitlement, Dangerous World, Uncontrollability of Offending Behaviour, and Nature of Harm.  The aim of some research colleagues and myself recently conducted was to explore, and further our understanding of, the cognitions of individuals with an offence related to child sexual exploitation material (CSEM).

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Sexual offender cognition: Separating the ‘sexual’ from the ‘offender’

Ross Bartels

Cognition has long been viewed as playing an important role in the aetiology and maintenance of sexual offending behaviours (Abel et al., 1989; Ó Ciardha & Gannon, 2011). As a result, offence-supportive cognition (e.g., distorted attitudes, schemas) has been, and remains, a core factor in the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders (Beech, Bartels, & Dixon, 2013). In addition, an impressive body of theoretical and empirical literature has amassed on the subject over the last 15 years (see Caoilte Ó Ciardha’s review for more information).

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Procrastinating about laziness: Sometimes we forget that deviant sexual interests are a bit complicated

Caoilte Ó Ciardha

I’m great at procrastinating, or rather; when I procrastinate I am very good at tricking myself into doing something useful. When my house is tidy, the people around me know I’m avoiding work. When I’ve actually gardened they know I’m avoiding something huge. Today, I’m trying something different – procrastinatory blogging! In admitting this I also apologise to those waiting for papers or journal reviews from me, and I apologise to my flatmates who might have reasonably expected a clean house to result from my latest bout of writer’s block. However, toiling as I am with a current piece of work and an impending deadline, I was reminded of an article that I wrote in similar circumstances.

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Response to Ian McPhail – ‘Depth and usefulness in theories of sexual violence’

Tony Ward

In his recent nextgenforensic post commenting on my paper on theory construction in the sexual offending area (Ward, 2014) Ian McPhail identified a number of weaknesses that he believed would result in poor theory construction.  His major concern is my suggestion that integrative pluralism should guide theory construction will result in ‘bloated, ill-defined theories of sexual violence’. I take it that McPhail thinks I suggest that all researchers should pursue integrated theories in their own research programs, each attempting to build their own integrated (pluralistic) theory. That is incorrect. What I am suggesting is that the forensic/correctional research community should work in a more coordinated manner.

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What’s the point when research on sexual offending has no links to practice?

Ross Bartels

The measure of greatness in a scientific idea is the extent to which it stimulates thought and opens up new lines of research” – Paul Dirac (physicist)

A good deal of research is being conducted by both academics and clinicians to help us understand, assess, and treat sexual offenders. As such, it is understandable to see ‘nextgen’ researchers (myself included) wanting to provide a valuable contribution to the field. However, finding a ‘great scientific idea’ can to be a challenging endeavour. There are a great many factors inherent to the understanding of human behaviour, and offending behaviour is no exception. Luckily, as researchers in forensic psychology, we have a vast body of psychological literature (whether it be a principle, theory, method, or findings from a study) to draw upon when formulating a specific research question. I find this process exciting, as you never know when you might find a ‘hidden gem’ that will reveal new ways of understanding, assessing, and treating sexual offenders.

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