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Abstract

This study examines the recidivism rates of Finnish child sex offenders convicted in 2010 (n = 361) over a follow-up period of seven years. The results indicate that while reoffending for other types of offences was common (34%), offenders had very low sexual crime recidivism rates (1%). In terms of more persistent criminal careers, less than a quarter of the offenders had both a previous criminal history and at least one subsequent offence during the follow-up period. Offenders with child sexual abuse material-related crimes reoffended more rarely than did others. Study limitations and implications for policymaking, media and rehabilitation are discussed.
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Nordic Journal of Criminology
ISSN: 2578-983X (Print) 2578-9821 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/scri21
Low recidivism rates of child sex offenders in a
Finnish 7-year follow-up
Taina Laajasalo, Noora Ellonen, Julia Korkman, Tom Pakkanen & Olli-Pekka
Aaltonen
To cite this article: Taina Laajasalo, Noora Ellonen, Julia Korkman, Tom Pakkanen & Olli-Pekka
Aaltonen (2020): Low recidivism rates of child sex offenders in a Finnish 7-year follow-up, Nordic
Journal of Criminology, DOI: 10.1080/2578983X.2020.1730069
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/2578983X.2020.1730069
Published online: 19 Feb 2020.
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Low recidivism rates of child sex oenders in a Finnish 7-year
follow-up
Taina Laajasalo
a,b
, Noora Ellonen
c,d
, Julia Korkman
b,e
, Tom Pakkanen
b,e
and
Olli-Pekka Aaltonen
c
a
Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland;
b
Forensic Psychology Center for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki, Finland;
c
Institute of Criminology and
Legal Policy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland;
d
Faculty of Social Science, Tampere University,
Tampere, Finland;
e
Department of Psychology, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
ABSTRACT
This study examines the recidivism rates of Finnish child sex oen-
ders convicted in 2010 (n= 361) over a follow-up period of seven
years. The results indicate that while reoending for other types of
oences was common (34%), oenders had very low sexual crime
recidivism rates (1%). In terms of more persistent criminal careers,
less than a quarter of the oenders had both a previous criminal
history and at least one subsequent oence during the follow-up
period. Oenders with child sexual abuse material-related crimes
reoended more rarely than did others. Study limitations and impli-
cations for policymaking, media and rehabilitation are discussed.
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 12 October 2019
Accepted 12 February 2020
KEYWORDS
Child sexual abuse;
recidivism; reoending;
reconviction
Introduction
The idea that perpetrators of child sexual abuse are at an especially high risk of recidivism
is commonly fed by media reports and is accepted both in public and clinical discourse.
However, this notion is not supported by the scientic literature. This gap between the
research and public perceptions has been discussed since the 1950s (Tappan, 1955).
A seminal meta-analysis by Schmucker and Lösel (2015) featuring an international sample
of over 10,000 sexual oenders found recidivism rates of 10% in treated oenders and
14% in untreated oenders. However, this large meta-study included studies with mixed
groups of rapists, child molesters and other types of oender, thus failing to take into
consideration the fact that recidivism rates may vary depending on whether the victim of
the sexual crime is a minor or an adult.
According to a second meta-analysis, sex oence recidivism risk factors comprise two
major dimensions (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005), the rst being atypical sexuality,
consisting of paraphilias such as paedophilia, hebephilia, sexual sadism and hypersexu-
ality, and the second being related to antisocial features, including antisocial personality
traits and a lifestyle characterized by, for example, impulsivity and substance abuse.
Indications exist that predisposing factors for both sexual oending in general and
recidivism specically may dier somewhat depending on the type of index oence.
CONTACT Taina Laajasalo taina.laajasalo@helsinki.Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of
Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 63, Helsinki 00014, Finland
NORDIC JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY
https://doi.org/10.1080/2578983X.2020.1730069
© 2020 The Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology
For example, oenders whose victims are adults are more likely to have an antisocial
orientation than are child sex oenders (Firestone et al., 1998). Furthermore, maladaptive
cognitive schemas that are known to play a role in the initiation of sexual crimes, as well as
in reoending, seem to dier between the subtypes of sex oender (Sigre-Leirós,
Carvalho, & Nobre, 2015). Thus, it is somewhat surprising that discussions and analyses
of reoending rates rarely distinguish between child sexual abuse oenders and those
who oend against adults.
In order to understand child sex oence recidivism better, it is important to realize that
oenders committing sexual crimes against children are a heterogeneous group.
Estimates suggest that about half of such oenders show disorders of sexual preference,
namely, paedophilia or hebephilia, which might be exclusive (sexually attracted only to
children) or non-exclusive (sexually attracted to both adults and children). For others,
oences are related to antisocial tendencies, in some cases as severe as psychopathy,
which by denition is accompanied by a callous disregard for others. In terms of recidi-
vism, the co-occurrence of atypical sexual preferences and psychopathy is the most toxic
combination (Seto, 2018). In addition, some oend sexually against children for other
reasons, including intellectual disability. The recidivism risk varies depending on the type
of victim: the recidivism rates of intrafamilial child molesters are generally lower than
those of extrafamilial child molesters are (Hanson, 2002).
Recidivism rates should also be considered within the national socio-legal context. It is
worth noting that in an international comparison, sentences for child sexual abuse in
Finland and other Nordic countries can be regarded as short. For example, the sentence in
Finland for aggravated child sexual abuse is 110 years, but the mean length is less than
5 years. Sentences under two years are typically given as conditional imprisonment, and
rst-timers typically serve half of their sentence (Hinkkanen, 2009). There are no sex
oender registries. In the public debate, Finnish criminal policies are sometimes criticized
for being too mild but contrary to popular belief, according to a new study, citizenssense
of justice seems to align quite well with the punishment policies applied by the autho-
rities, and Finnish people nd preventive measures, not imprisonment, to be the most
important approach to diminishing criminality (Kääriäinen, 2018).
In a meta-analysis consisting of more than 4000 oenders with an average follow-up
period of four to ve years (Hanson & Bussière, 1998), the recidivism rates for sexual
oences and non-sexual violent oences, as well as the reconviction rates for any type of
oence, were signicantly higher for rapists than for child molesters. However, not all
studies have found signicant dierences. In a study of 419 released sexual oenders
followed over an average of seven years, 13% reoended sexually, while 16% of those
initially convicted of child sexual oences relapsed into child sexual abuse (Looman &
Abracen, 2010). Furthermore, Harris and Hanson (2004) found similar recidivism estimates
for rapists (14%, 21% and 24% after 5, 10 and 15 years) and child molesters (13%, 18% and
23%, respectively).
The reported rates for child sexual abuse reoences vary between countries. The
variance may reect not only methodological dierences, such as dierent data sources
and denitions of recidivism, but also the earlier mentioned dierences in legislation,
culture and social circumstances (Nilsson et al., 2014). Thus, data from diverse samples are
warranted. In a Swedish study of child sexual abuse oenders with a 10- to 15-year follow-
up (Nilsson et al., 2014), a 10% relapse rate into sexual oences in a population-based
2T. LAAJASALO ET AL.
cohort was found (n= 193). For a clinic-referred group (n= 166), the relapse rate was 14%.
In two separate studies of convicted Finnish sex oenders, by Hinkkanen (2009) and
Laaksonen and Tyni (2015), with mean follow-up periods of 9 years and 7.5 years,
respectively, the rate of reconvictions for sexual crimes was low, around 6%. In neither
of these studies was recidivism risk associated with child sexual abuse.
In terms of treatment goals and rehabilitation, it is of interest to examine the type of
oences that sex oenders commit once they relapse, as well as the dierences between
the index crime and recidivism rates. Previous studies have established a tendency to
relapse into violent rather than sexual crimes (Hanson & Bussière, 1998; Schmucker &
Lösel, 2015). Likewise, in a meta-analysis of 63 datasets (n= 11,219 adolescent sex
oenders, mean follow-up period of 59.4 months), a mean sex oence recidivism rate
of only 7% was found, whereas the recidivism rate for general criminality was 43%
(Caldwell et al., 2010). Furthermore, recidivism rates may vary between types of child
sexual oender. For example, while longitudinal studies on the recidivism of oenders
whose crimes are limited to making, possessing or distributing child sexual abuse material
are still scarce, existing studies suggest that individuals charged with online oences
seldom engage in future contact oences (Hirschtritt, Tucker, & Binder, 2019).
The aim of this study was to assess the recidivism rates of Finnish child sexual abuse
oenders. We describe the type of reoences (sexual vs. other), as well the relationship
between the index crime (child sexual abuse crimes vs. child sexual abuse material-related
crimes) and reoending. The follow-up period was seven years. For those sanctioned with
imprisonment (n= 67), the follow-up period was on average 25 months shorter because
of the imprisonment.
1
Sample and procedure
The analysis is based on longitudinal register data of convictions for sexual oences
against children in 2010. The data are from a database maintained by the Institute of
Criminology and Legal Policy, which includes convictions and nes given for all crimes
in Finland in 20052017. For the analysis, convictions for sexual oences against
children in 2010 were selected to ensure a long enough follow-up time, that a period
was selected in which there had not been any substantial legislative changes inuen-
cing the recording of oences (20102017) and to collect information about the criminal
history of the oenders (20052010).
The cases were collected from the database on the basis of the title of the oence. All
14 oence titles indicating that the crime was conducted against children were included.
In cases where the perpetrator was convicted of several sexual oences, the most serious
child-related sexual oenceaccording to length of maximum sentencewas included,
and all other oences were excluded. A particular incident is thus included only once, and
perpetrators are the unit of observation in the data.
Children can also be victims of other sexual oences, such as rape. These had to be
excluded because the database includes information only about the crime and perpe-
trator, not about the age of the victim. However, if a child falls victim to rape, the charges
should also, according to Finnish law, include child sexual abuse. Therefore, it is very
unlikely that any cases have been excluded from the data on this basis. The nal dataset
includes 361 convicted oenders.
NORDIC JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY 3
Variables
Sexual oence
Six oence types were found: sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
aggravated distribution of a sexually oensive picture depicting a child, possession of
a sexually oensive picture depicting a child, purchase of sexual services from a young
person and incest. The last two crime types included only two cases each, and were
combined into the category other. For some of the analysis, sexual oences were
dichotomized into contact oences, including sexual abuse and aggravated sexual
abuse, and material-related oences, including possession and distribution of child sexual
abuse material. In this dichotomization, the category others(n= 4) was excluded.
Criminal history
Two dichotomous variables were used: whether the oender had convictions for
child-related sexual oences or for other crimes during the ve-year period prior to
the 2010 conviction. The data also included the age and gender of the oender, but
gender could not be used in the analysis because the data included only four
females.
Sanction
Four separate dichotomous variables for sanctions were used: imprisonment, conditional
imprisonment, ne and community service.
Recidivism
Two separate variables (also dichotomous) were formed: new convictions for any type of
sexual oence and convictions for other crimes. Reconvictions were included from the
2010 conviction until the end of 2017.
Analytical strategy
The analysis was limited to a descriptive analysis, including, for example, frequencies
and contingency tables, due to the low number of cases. Statistical inference was
not used because there was no probability sample used. The data included all cases
from 2010.
Results
The most common type of index oence was child sexual abuse, and the most common
sanction was conditional imprisonment. Altogether, 61 oenders (17%) were convicted of
child sexual abuse material-related crimes (possession, distribution).
The majority of the oenders (95%) had no prior sexual oence convictions for the ve
years before the conviction in 2010. Half (50%) of the convicted had prior convictions for
other crimes and 13% had more than 10 convictions.
Only four oenders (1%) were reconvicted of a sexual crime after the 2010 conviction.
For other types of oence, the recidivism rate was considerably higher (34%). For
a complete listing of all the variables and their frequencies, see Table 1.
4T. LAAJASALO ET AL.
Because the data only included the date when the sentence ended and not the actual
release date, exact survival times cannot be reported. Survival times between the end of
the sentence of the index crime and a new sexual oence were 63, 253, 802 and 1661 days
for the four oenders who reoended in this regard. For other reoenders, survival times
varied between 3 and 2434 days.
Of those who had been convicted of contact crimes (sexual abuse, aggravated
sexual abuse), 55% had prior convictions. After the 2010 conviction, 39% had
acquired a reconviction for a non-sexual crime and four oenders (1%) for a sexual
crime. Of those who had been convicted of oences related to child sexual abuse
material (possession and distribution), 26% had prior convictions and 8% reoended.
All the reoences were non-sexual oences. In both groups, about 5% had prior
convictions for sexual oences (for all sexual crimes, including oences with adult
victims).
A large variation in the number of convictions (range 3197) was observed. When
criminal history and recidivism variables were combined to describe the criminal
trajectories of the oenders, 28.4% of those convicted of contact oences and 4.9%
of those convicted of distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material had
at least three convictions for the period 20052017, of which at least one was
asexualoence (the index oence) against children. For a summary of the criminal
history and recidivism by type of child sexual abuse oences, see Table 2.
Table 1. Variables and their frequencies, pertaining to the index oence, sentence, oender
and reoending.
N%
Sexual oence Sexual abuse of a child 258 71.5
Aggravated sexual abuse of a child 38 10.5
Possession of CSA material 50 13.9
Distribution of CSA material 11 3.0
Other 4 1.1
Sanction
Imprisonment 67 18.6
Conditional imprisonment 241 66.8
Fine 69 19.1
Community service 9 2.5
Oender age
Under 21 56 15.5
2235 142 39.3
3649 91 25.2
5065 59 16.3
Over 65 13 3.6
Previous sexual oences
None 343 95.0
One previous conviction 10 2.8
Several previous convictions 8 2.2
Previous other oences
None 180 49.9
10 or fewer previous convictions 135 37.4
Over 10 previous convictions 46 12.7
Recidivism
Convictions for sexual oences 20102017 4 1.1
Convictions for other oences 20102017 121 33.5
Other = purchase of sexual services from a young person and sexual contact between close relatives CSA = child
sexual abuse
NORDIC JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY 5
Discussion
Our ndings replicate earlier, fairly robust ndings on child sexual abuse recidivism:
compared to other criminals, child sex oenders are reconvicted relatively seldom (e.g.
Seto, 2018), and although longer follow-up times increase the recidivism rates slightly, the
overall percentages remain relatively low. In the current sample, perpetrators of child
sexual abuse rarely reoended with new child sexual abuse oences. As with recidivism
more generally, a minority of the oenders committed the majority of the oences,
showing evidence of a persistent criminal trajectory: 87 (24%) had a criminal history
and reconviction (for any type of oence). To sum up, the stereotypical image of the
prolic child sexual abuse repeat oender remains a myth without empirical support, or at
least much more rare than the media-fed availability bias (Levenson, Brannon, Fortney, &
Baker, 2007) would have readers believe.
The sentences in Finland are short enough for a seven-year follow-up to allow for
opportunities to reoend. However, only one-fth of the oenders in this study were
imprisoned during the follow-up. Furthermore, extending the follow-up period would
likely have had only a small eect: the likelihood of recidivism declines the longer an
individual remains sexual oence-free in the community, and after 10 to 15 years, most
individuals with a history of sexual oences are no more likely to commit a new sexual
oence than are individuals with a criminal history that did not include sexual oences
(Hanson, Harris, Letourneau, Helmus, & Thornton, 2018).
When considering the reasons behind the low recidivism rates observed in this study, it
bears mentioning that recent years have brought about changes in the rehabilitation
programmes oered to child sexual abuse oenders in Finland. For example, since
20122014, a proportion of low-risk child sexual abuse oenders, including those
whose punishment is a ne or unconditional imprisonment, are oered a new voluntary
rehabilitation programme tailored for sex oenders. On-going studies are assessing the
outreach of the programme and whether the imposed changes have had an eect on
recidivism rates. With regard to the content of rehabilitation, our results highlight the
need to focus on general, non-sexual criminogenic factors. Also of note is that the very
low base rate of sexual reoending poses a signicant challenge for risk assessment,
making it extremely challenging to identify potential reoenders and increasing the risk
of false positive predictions signicantly (Berk, 2008).
Table 2. Criminal history and recidivism by type of CSA oence (contact- or material-related oences).
Contact oences CSA material oences
N% N %
Criminal history
Previous sexual oences 15 5.1 3 4.9
Previous other oences 164 55.4 16 26.2
Recidivism
Convictions for sexual oences 20102017 4 1.4 0 0.0
Convictions for other oences 20102017 115 38.9 5 8.2
Criminal career
Criminal history and recidivism 84 28.4 3 4.9
Contact oences = sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse
CSA material oences = possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material
6T. LAAJASALO ET AL.
Sexual crimes in general largely go under-reported and child sexual abuse is no
exception. According to a recent Finnish victim survey, only one-quarter of child sexual
abuse victims had disclosed to adults (Lahtinen, Laitila, Korkman, & Ellonen, 2018).
However, while the actual prevalence of child sexual abuse has gone down (Lahtinen
et al., 2018), the number of suspected child sexual abuse reports made to the police has
been increasing in recent years in Finland (Fagerlund, Peltola, Kääräinen, Ellonen, &
Sariola, 2014). In light of child victim survey data, it seems that the most severe cases
have diminished but are more often reported, while cases that the young do not
themselves consider a crime (typically cases with small age dierences) have increased
but may go unreported.
The recidivism rates observed in this study are lower than those of previous national
estimates, which is likely at least in part to be the result of dierences in sampling. For
example, Laaksonen and Tyni (2015) investigated recidivism only among sex oenders who
had been incarcerated for their crime whereas, in our sample, conditional imprisonment was
the most common sanction. Hinkkanen (2009) obtained a reoending percentage of less
than 5% among child sex oenders (the exact percentage was not reported). This is a higher
percentage than ours is, but it is noteworthy that none of the oenders in his sample
convicted of aggravated child sexual abuse (n= 120) were convicted again for sexual
oences, re-emphasizing the rareness of reconvictions among child sexual abuse oenders.
Depending on the national legislation, cases in which older adolescents (above the
age of 15) engage in sexual relationships with early or mid-adolescent peers (1315 years)
may lead to convictions (Hinkkanen, 2009). The legal age of consent varies for the Nordic
countries (e.g. 15 years in Sweden, 16 years in Finland and Norway), implying that sexual
interactions including adolescents of 15 years may be regarded as child sexual abuse in
Finland but not in Sweden. Interestingly, Hinkkanen (2009) showed that for 14% of the
child sex crime convictions in Finland, the perpetrator was the victims partner, the age of
the victim was most commonly 14 or 15 years and the age dierence between the parties
was typically between 4 and 10 years. Where the age dierence was greater than 10 years,
punishments tended to be more severe and the victims younger (Hinkkanen, 2009). It can
be hypothesized that in cases involving adolescents, reconvictions will be rarer than in
other cases because the perpetrators were acting within relationships and the age
dierence does not indicate an age-related paraphilia. Analyses of sexual experiences,
as reported in child victim surveys of 12- and 15-year-olds (Fagerlund et al., 2014), also
indicate that 14- to 15-year-old girls comprise the majority of youngsters reporting sexual
experiences with persons at least 5 years older. The majority of these experiences are
reported to be consensual and take place within relationships. It is worth noting that 30%
of Finnish females and around 25% of Finnish males report having had their rst inter-
course before the age of 16, that is, before reaching the legal age of consent (Kontula,
2015). All cases in which the other party is 15 years or older (the age of criminal
responsibility) could be regarded as constituting child sexual abuse from a legal perspec-
tive. Future studies exploring child sex oences should dierentiate between sexual
interactions among adolescents and cases with greater age dierences.
Our study has limitations and caution needs to be exercised when interpreting the
results. This was a descriptive study with a small sample and used only conviction data.
Thus, it has limited generalization. The study sheds light only on detected and convicted
oenders. A number of interesting variables, such as victims age, could not be obtained.
NORDIC JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY 7
As a nal note, as pointed out by Seto (2018), the popular but misleading view that
child sexual abuse oenders are highly likely to reoend may be used as a means of
justifying harsher sanctions. Discussing punitive policies related to sexual and other
oences is beyond the scope of this study. However, the current results suggest, in line
with earlier international studies, that in Finland, too, harsher sanctions against child sex
oenders should not be motivated by the argument that they would reduce recidivism.
Note
1. The data include the length of the sanction but not the exact release date. Twenty-ve
months is the average length of the unconditional imprisonment sentences given to the
oenders in the data.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
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NORDIC JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY 9
... VAWG related crimes are rare offences (Elkin 2021), official recidivism rates are low (Hason, 2002;Cortoni, Hanson, and Coache, 2010;Laajasalo et al. 2020), and the overwhelming majority of VAWG incidents are unreported to the police (Allen et al. 2022). However, these facts do not make the occurrence of these crimes unpredictable (Hanson and Bussiere 1998;Qunisey et al. 1995). ...
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The stack of evidence on ways in which private and public police can work collaboratively is mounting. From what we know, when the two spheres take a cooperative approach, effective crime control practices ensue. The use of private security in lieu of 'classic' policing roles is not just a matter of desirable reduced public expenditure; security guards, place managers, and many other non-state actors are often as effective, if not more, in crime management and security services than the police. We take the case of violence of women and girls (VAWG), specifically in the public transportation environment, to illustrate the substitutability and complementarity of private security with public police. In this chapter, we observe three 'units of analysis': crime locations, offenders, and victims. Examination of all three units reinforces the view that private and public police should not work in silos. 'VAWG Hotspots' can be identified by police records and then patrolled by security guards, in order to prevent VAWG; known and potentially recidivist VAWG offenders can be managed by both police and private security, using a focused deterrence approach; and VAWG victims can be given additional care through a 'call back' policy, provided conjunctly by the two systems. I conclude with a series of evidence-based policy recommendations for applying these evidence-based approaches to deal with VAWG, with the British Transport Police and the United Kingdom's train operating companies in mind, as they are best equipped to carry out these policies.
... VAWG related crimes are rare offences (Elkin 2021), official recidivism rates are low (Hason, 2002;Cortoni, Hanson, and Coache, 2010;Laajasalo et al. 2020), and the overwhelming majority of VAWG incidents are unreported to the police (Allen et al. 2022). However, these facts do not make the occurrence of these crimes unpredictable (Hanson and Bussiere 1998;Qunisey et al. 1995). ...
Chapter
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The stack of evidence on ways in which private and public police can work collaboratively is mounting. From what we know, when the two spheres take a cooperative approach, effective crime control practices ensue. The use of private security in lieu of 'classic' policing roles is not just a matter of desirable reduced public expenditure; security guards, place managers, and many other non-state actors are often as effective, if not more, in crime management and security services than the police. We take the case of violence of women and girls (VAWG), specifically in the public transportation environment, to illustrate the substitutability and complementarity of private security with public police. In this chapter, we observe three 'units of analysis': crime locations, offenders, and victims. Examination of all three units reinforces the view that private and public police should not work in silos. 'VAWG Hotspots' can be identified by police records and then patrolled by security guards, in order to prevent VAWG; known and potentially recidivist VAWG offenders can be managed by both police and private security, using a focused deterrence approach; and VAWG victims can be given additional care through a 'call back' policy, provided conjunctly by the two systems. I conclude with a series of evidence-based policy recommendations for applying these evidence-based approaches to deal with VAWG, with the British Transport Police and the United Kingdom's train operating companies in mind, as they are best equipped to carry out these policies.
... Firstly, in terms of risk, while serious, repeat offenders are a danger to the public, those who desist for three years post-release are no more likely to offend than are non-offending controls (Hansen, 2019, 18-20 June). Indeed, rates of reoffence in studies with follow-up periods ranging from one to seven years find sexual re-offending, including in adolescents, is around 10% (Fanniff et al., 2017;Jennings, 2015;Ozkan et al., 2020), and may be lower in some countries (e.g., a seven-year follow-up found a 1% recidivism rate in a Finnish sample of child sex offenders; Laajasalo et al., 2020). Those who do reoffend, like other violent offenses, are generally not charged with a new sexual offense; rather, they are recalled due to failure to meet the conditions of release or due to a nonsexual offense (Lösel et al., 2020). ...
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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.
... Of the eight jurisdictions providing offender services across Australia, three currently offer CMPs for men who have sexually offended although participation ranges from brief (3-6 months) in two instances to a lengthier program that usually extends for several years. Given issues around low base rates for sexual offending (Laajasalo et al., 2020;Schmucker & Lösel, 2015), the CMP deemed most suitable for the current study services the largest number of Australian offenders and requires participation over the longest period. The program is compulsory for men who have been sexually offended, who have completed a high intensity custodial program and are (typically) assessed as moderate-to-high risk of reoffending on the Static-99R (Phenix et al., 2016). ...
Article
Although it seems community maintenance programs (CMPs) can play an important role in the desistance journey for those who have committed a sexual offence and there is increased recognition of the various factors that can impact behaviour change, there remains a paucity of research that considers the lived experience of those who have participated in CMPs. The primary aim of this study was to solicit views from a group of individuals who had participated in a CMP post-release to develop an understanding of CMPs in terms of its significance in the transition from prison to community reintegration. Thirteen men who participated in an Australian CMP and did not reoffend and thirteen men who participated and went on to reoffend sexually were interviewed about their perceptions and experiences of the CMP. The results for the two groups are outlined as well as implications for practice and future research.
... Although it was beyond the major aims of our study, our findings seemed to be in line with the scientific literature suggesting a possible heterogeneity of dysfunctional personality profiles among sexual offenders (e.g., Laajasalo et al., 2020). Our results suggested that only a minority of our participants (i.e., 3.7%-11.0%, ...
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Lapsiin ja nuoriin kohdistuvan seksuaaliväkivallan ennaltaehkäisyssä on perinteisesti panostettu erityisesti lasten suojelemiseen ja heidän turvataitojensa parantamiseen. Myös seksuaalirikokseen syyllistyneiden kuntoutuksessa on painotus ollut pitkään uusintarikollisuuden ehkäisemisessä. Tehokkainta lastensuojelua ja lapsiin kohdistuvien seksuaalirikosten ennaltaehkäisyä on painopisteen siirtäminen suojelukeskeisyydestä ja korjaavasta toiminnasta preventiivisen tuen tarjoamiseen henkilöille, joiden seksuaalinen kiinnostus kohdistuu lapsiin ja/tai joilla on riski syyllistyä lapseen kohdistuvaan seksuaalirikokseen. Artikkelissa esitellään suunnitelma näille henkilöille suunnatuista primaari-, ja sekundaaritasojen ehkäisevistä hoitopoluista sekä ehdotus hoitopolkujen intergroimisesta osaksi julkista sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon palvelujärjestelmää.
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This study examined the relationship of age to sexual recidivism using data from 10 follow-upstudies of adult male sexual offenders (combined sample of 4,673). Rapists were younger thanchild molesters, and the recidivism risk of rapists steadily decreased with age. In contrast,extra familial child molesters showed relatively little reduction in recidivism risk until after theage of50. The recidivism rate of intra familial child molesters was generally low (less than 10%),except for the intra familial offenders in the 18-to24-year-old age group, whose recidivism riskwas comparable to that of rapists and extra familial child molesters. The results are discussed interms of developmental changes in sexual drive, self-control, and opportunities to offend.
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In international comparison, Finland is a country where social well-being and gender equality are exemplarily progressed. One could assume that this had caused positive impact also on sexual well-being. This assumption was tested by utilizing nationally representative sex surveys that have been conducted in Finland during several decades. The results are challenging after there was found increasing lack of female sexual desire, decreasing frequency of sexual intercourse, and unwanted trends in female orgasms. Some explanations for these unexpected results were given.
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