Sexual offending and sentencing: an investigation of the factors affecting sentencing decisions regarding perpetrators of sexual offences against children. In particular an investigation of the impact and usefulness clinical psychology reports have in judicial decisions about sentencing sexual offenders.

Duncan, Paula K. (1996). Sexual offending and sentencing: an investigation of the factors affecting sentencing decisions regarding perpetrators of sexual offences against children. In particular an investigation of the impact and usefulness clinical psychology reports have in judicial decisions about sentencing sexual offenders. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e11a

Abstract

The sentencing of sexual offenders has become a national concern with public outcries about the injustice of the diversity of sentencing. Clinical Psychologists working in Forensic settings are increasingly involved in the treatment of child sexual offenders through consultation and therapeutic interventions in out-patient, residential and prison settings. Psychologists in these settings need to determine the characteristics of the sexual offender population they are likely to come in contact with in each of the different settings. This research aims to investigate a range of factors that impact and influence decisions about the sentencing of sexual offenders. A mixed methodological approach comprising case-file audit, qualitative interviews and statistical tests of association and prediction of variance was used to investigate the research area from different perspectives. A comprehensive profile of characteristics of child sexual offender's and their offences was obtained from audit data on 117 perpetrators of sexual offences against children. Statistical analysis of a number of these characteristics found that Psychological report recommendations were the most predictive of sentencing outcome when all other tested variables had been taken into account. The impact and influence of psychological reports in the sentencing process was further highlighted through interviews with Judges.

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