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Presentation on theme: "Dr Ann Henry Tues 5 th November 2013 FORENSIC & APPLIED COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY SEXUAL OFFENDING - RAPE."— Presentation transcript:


2  Theories of crime LAST LECTURE

3  Sexual Offending (part 1) – Rapists LECTURE OVERVIEW

4  Howitt (2009) defines rape as:  Unwanted penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person.  This means that women who abuse children or adults are covered by the most recent Sexual Offences Act (2003)  Statutory rape is penile penetration of any child below the age of consent to sexual intercourse  Issue of ‘consent’ has been controversial DEFINITIONS OF RAPE

5  Sexual Offences Act (2003) includes a legal definition of ‘consent’  Active consent of the parties, free from factors that might mitigate against the freely given choice such as threats of violence, drugs, alcohol or being asleep.  No longer sufficient for someone to ‘assume’ that consent had been given.  New approach is based on presumption that consent had ‘NOT’ been given. LEGAL ASPECTS

6  Difficult to assess frequency of rape as much under reporting (dark figure of unreported crime  Estimated between 75-95% of rapes are not reported to the police (Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, 2007) FREQUENCY OF RAPE

7  Occupational police culture that treats with suspicion allegations of rape (Reiner, 2000)  Controversy over how many allegations of rape are false (between 1%-50% in various studies (Rumney, 2006) FREQUENCY OF RAPE

8  Hence, the frequency of rape cannot be assessed with certainty.  British Crime Surveys – random surveys of households which attempts to assess the rate of crime, including those not reported to the police.  4 women in a 1,000 described incidents that could be classified as rape in previous year FREQUENCY OF RAPE

9  49 women in 1,000 claimed to have been raped since age of 16 years.  9 women in 1,000 claimed to have suffered some form of sexual assault victimisation in the previous year  97 women in 1,000 had suffered some form of sexual assault since the age of 16 BRITISH CRIME SURVEYS

10  Victims of rape usually know the rapist  45% of rapists were the women’s current partner  16% were acquaintances  11% were ex-partners  11% were dates  10% were other intimates  Women raped by a stranger more likely to report it to the police (36% agreed in survey, whereas only 8% reported rape by known man)  Howitt (2012) BRITISH CRIME SURVEY

11 HOME OFFICE (2010)


13 Table 2.1 - Prevalence of being a victim of a sexual offence in the last 12 months among adults aged 16 to 59, average of 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 CSEW Persons aged 16 to 59 England and Wales Percentage who were victims once or more OffenceMalesFemalesAll Any sexual offence (including attempts) (1) Most serious sexual offences (including attempts) Rape (including attempts) Assault by penetration (including attempts) Most serious sexual offences (excluding attempts) Rape (excluding attempts) Assault by penetration (excluding attempts)0.00.1 Other sexual offences0.42.31.3 Unweighted base (2) 20,692 24,203 44,895 (1) Subcategory figures will not add up to the figures above them because respondents may have been victims of separate incidents of different types of sexual offence. (2) The bases given are for any sexual offence, the bases for the other measures presented will be similar. HOME OFFICE (2013)

14 Table 2.2 - Estimated numbers of victims of sexual offences in the last 12 months among adults aged 16 to 59, average of 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 CSEW Persons aged 16 to 59 England and Wales Numbe r of victims per year (thousa nds) (1) MalesFemalesAll OffenceEstimateRange (2) EstimateRange (2) EstimateRange (2) Any sexual offence (including attempts) (1) 7254-90404366-442473430-517 Most serious sexual offences (including attempts)125-198568-1039777-116 Rape (including attempts)93-156954-857860-95 Assault by penetration (including attempts)40-83120-413423-46 Most serious sexual offences (excluding attempts)9315624777705487 Rape (excluding attempts)61-115239-665843-73 Assault by penetration (excluding attempts)40-82112-302515-34 Other sexual offences6851-85369333-406436395-477 Unweighted base (3) 20,692 24,203 44,895 (1) Subcategory figures will not add up to the figures above them because respondents may have been victims of separate incidents of different types of sexual offence. (2) The ranges presented in this table have been calculated using a 95 per cent confidence interval. ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF VICTIMS (2013)



17  General Theory of Crime (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990)  Argues that offending is a manifestation of a broader & more pervasive antisocial character which involves not just crime, but other similar behaviours.  E.g. employment instability, absenteeism from work, alcohol & drug abuse, cigarettes, irresponsible driving, marital instability, truancy & unprotected sex. SEX OFFENDERS AS SPECIALISTS/ GENERALISTS?

18  Harris, Mazerolle & Knight (2009)  Argues that sex offenders largely specialise in sexual crimes & do not engage in other types of activity.  They argue that there is an ‘implicit’ assumption that those who commit sex offences are not the same as non-sexual offenders. SPECIALIST SEX OFFENDERS

19  Leclerc, Cale & Proulx (2007)  Argue that sex offenders include both ‘generalists’ and ‘specialists’  Case for generalists is compelling e.g. previous histories of non-sexual offending is common amongst sex offenders  When they reoffend, it’s likely to be for a non- sexual offence. GENERALIST OR SPECIALIST SEX OFFENDERS?

20  Harris et al (2009) found that –  There is a group of generalist (versatile) sex offenders – more likely to show signs of ‘psychopathy’  There is a group of ‘specialist’ sex offenders who are likely to show emotional congruence with children, preference of male victims, victims known to them & sexual preoccupation. GENERALIST OR SPECIALIST SEX OFFENDERS?

21  Harris et al (2009)  Rapists are ‘generalist’ offenders  Child molesters are ‘specialist’ offenders  Study based on sample of 572 sex offenders in Massachusetts between 1959- 1984.  Considered a ‘specialist’ if the majority of their crimes are of a particular type.  Within their sample, they found that ‘specialist’ rapists were rare, but specialist child molesters were more common. GENERALIST OR SPECIALIST SEX OFFENDERS?

22  Cross-over is the extent to which a sex offender offends against victims in a variety of categories. E.g. adult women, girl children, boy children.  The more the cross-over, the harder to explain the sexual offending in terms of different patterns of conditioning or social learning.  Also harder to predict future sexual offending. VICTIM CATEGORY CROSS-OVER

23  Cann, Friednship & Gozna (2007)  Looked at cross-over of sexual offenders in terms of victim age, gender & relationship to offender  Sample – 1,345 adult male sex offenders who had offended against multiple victims & sentenced to min of 4 years.  Found 25% of offenders showed cross-over on a min of 1 dimension  Cross-over offenders higher risk of re-offending according to Static-99 (risk assessment) VICTIM CATEGORY CROSS-OVER

24  Childhood abuse commoner in sex offenders  Rape often associated with anger  Worling (1995) adolescent sex offender.  Those who offended against women rather than peers had experienced more physical &/or sexual abuse as children.  Those sexually abused by men as children, lead to abuse against younger children  Victims of female sexual abuse tended to become offenders against peers and older women. YOUNG SEX OFFENDERS

25  Haapasalo & Kankkonen (1997)  Self-reported experiences of childhood abuse in men whose victims were over 18 years  Compared with violent offenders with no record of abuse.  Matched on number of family problems, being in care, parental divorce, parents who were substance abusers etc. YOUNG SEX OFFENDERS

26  Haapasalo & Kankkonen (1997)  Found that sex offenders  claimed to have experienced more psychological (verbal) abuse e.g. yelling, threatening, ridiculing etc.  Experience of psychological rejection & isolation was more common  Parents more openly hostile & negative towards them as children  Tended to be ignored, siblings favoured  Were locked up in closed environments  Mother/ father belittled them, did shameful things to them  Didn’t want them near them etc. YOUNG SEX OFFENDERS

27  Different characteristics in rape behaviour  Australian study have explored what happens during the rape (e.g. type of penetration (vaginal, oral, anal), language used in assaults (e.g. caring, abusive, angry, revenge). McCabe & Wauchope (2005) PATTERNS IN RAPE

28  Canter et al (2003)  British study explored the verbatim transcripts made by rape victims & classified the rape characteristics as:  Control- about a tenth of rapes (victim bound or gagged or blindfolded, weapon used etc)  Theft – about a twentieth of rapes (goods demanded & stolen from the victim)  Involvement – about a third of rapes (victim complimented about her appearance & kissed & implies that he knows the victim)  Hostility – about a quarter of rapes ( victims clothing removed in violent manner, victim threatened, attempted anal penetration, victim demeaned or verbally insulted)  Some rapes showed mixed patterns PATTERNS IN RAPE

29  Groth, Burgess & Holmstrom (1977)  Power-assurance rapist  Power-assertive rapist  Anger-retaliatory rapist  Anger-excitement rapist TYPES OF RAPISTS

30  Howitt (1991a) argues that sexual deprivation is not an essential component of rape  Power-assurance rapist is the most common type  Rape deals with insecurities about masculinity  Rape only provides short term reassurance about masculinity, so needs to rape again  Force is not great & threats may be involved, but weapon not used  Rape is planned – prior surveillance of victim  If victim is passive enough, sexual fantasies might be expressed during rape  Trophy items of clothing might be taken for future masturbation POWER ASSURANCE RAPISTS

31  Howitt (1991a)  Offender is usually sexually confident  Rape expresses his virility & sexuality & power over women  Victims may be found in social locations e.g. discos, pubs or parties  Initially his manner might be friendly, but changes very quickly  Violence is extreme, especially in later stages  Offences may be scattered & irregular in terms of frequency POWER ASSERTIVE RAPISTS

32  Howitt (1991a)  High levels of anger towards women  Involves short intense attacks (blitz)  Often a similarity between the victim & the woman he has the grudge against  Attacks may be fairly regular as a consequence of the build-up of anger ANGER-RETALIATORY RAPIST

33  Howitt (1991a)  Least common type  Rapist gains pleasure & sexual excitement from the distress of the victim  Infliction of pain is common & high levels of violence. Victim may be killed & torture is common  Careful, methodical planning  Will bring blindfold, gags & ropes to the rape  Victims are usually total strangers to offender  Photographs & video recordings might be taken  Attacks are usually irregular ANGER-EXCITEMENT RAPIST

34  Burt (1980) work on cultural myths concerning rape  She develop the ‘Rape Myth Acceptance Scale’  Based on victim-blaming & notions that women deserve to be or want to be raped  E.g. “if a girl engages in necking or petting & she lets things get out of hand, it’s her own fault if her partner forces sex on her”  “ if a girl gets drunk at a party & has sex with a man she’s just met there, she’s fair game for other males at the party who want to have sex with her”  “ a woman who is stuck up & thinks she is too good to talk to guys on the street, deserves to be taught a lesson” RAPE MYTHS

35  Hall & Barongan (1997)  Explored rape statistics in 50 states in the USA  Cultural spillover – measured in terms of ‘Legitimate Violence Index e.g. acceptance of corporal punishment in schools  Gender inequality – economic, legal & political status of women e.g. proportion of the state’s senate that were women, average income of employed men & women  Social disorganisation- stability of population e.g. divorce, lone parent families & religiosity. SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS

36  Conflicting evidence of the role played by sexual fantasies & sexual offending.  Williams et al (2009) found that rates of sexual fantasies in offender & non-offender populations were similar (using university students)  Maniglio (2010) did a systematic review of 7 studies involving 171 sexual murderers. Concluded that sexual fantasies might lead to sexual murder when the offender had a traumatic early life experiences and/or more extreme social/ sexual dysfunctions. SEXUAL FANTASY & SEXUAL OFFENDING

37  FEMINIST THEORY  Ellis (1989) argues that rape is built into the gender structure of society  Rape is likely to be associated with disparities in social status & power  Rape motivated primarily by desire for power & dominance, rather than desire for sex  Rapists hold more rape-prone attitudes to women than non-rapists – but not supported by recent research. THEORIES OF RAPE

38  Social learning theory  That rapists learn to be rapists  Ellis argues that pornography is key factor in this theory  Rapists hold more favourable attitudes to rape & violence than other men THEORIES OF RAPE

39  Evolutionary theory  Adaptive transmission of one’s genetic material to the next generation  Forced copulations should impregnate victims  Rape victims primarily of reproductive age  Victim should vigorously resist rapist  Rapist should be less likely than other males to attract voluntary sex partners THEORIES OF RAPE

40  Harris, D.A. Pedneault, A. & Knight, R.A. (2012). An exploration of burglary in the criminal histories of sex offenders referred for civil commitment, Psychology, Crime & Law, pp. 1-17.  Howitt, D. (2009). Introduction to Forensic & Criminal Psychology, 3 rd edition, Harlow, Pearson Education Ltd.  Norton, R. & Grant, T. (2008). Rape Myth in true & false rape allegations. Psychology, Crime & Law, vol.14 (4), pp 275-285.  Philip N.S. Rumney (2006).False allegations of rape. The Cambridge Law Journal, 65, pp 128-158. doi:10.1017/S0008197306007069. USEFUL REFERENCES

41   Strickland, S.M (2008). Female Sex Offenders: Exploring Issues of Personality, Trauma and Cognitive Distortions, J Interpers Violence, 23; pp. 474-489.  Swart, M.D., De Keseredy, W.S., Tait, D. & Alvi, S. (2006). Male peer support & a feminist routine activities theory: understanding sexual assault on the college campus, Justice Quarterly, vol. 18 (3), 623-649. USEFUL REFERENCES (CONT)

42  A gap of a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases – Home Office Research Study 293, February 2005   70  The Stern Review: A report by Baroness Vivien Stern CBE of an independent review into how rape complaints are handled by public authorities in England and Wales –Home Office, 2010  tp:/  Providing anonymity to those accused of rape: an assessment of evidence – Ministry of Justice Research Series 20/10, November 2010  analysis/moj/2010/anonymity-rape-assessment-evidence  71 USEFUL WEBLINKS


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