Marshall points out, however, the literature does not support the notion that all sex offenders have been sexually abused. In fact, because they are such a heterogeneous group, it is sometimes difficult to discern how they are uniquely different from other types of criminals or from those of us in the general public, other than the fact that they have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors. Key Examples of Static Risk Factors For example, among other factors, researchers have found the following static factors tend to predict sexual recidivism: Yet they engage in this behavior anyway.
And there may also be people in the general public who have some types of deviant interests or preferences—but they may not ever engage in sex offending behaviors. So that you have a clear understanding of the kinds of factors that are related to recidivism, I will highlight them based on the kinds of factors that are static or unchangeable, and those which have the potential to change over time. And we know that there are many people who have been subjected to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during their childhood or adolescence, yet they never go on to commit sex offenses. This is likely the result of cognitive distortions, or pro—offending attitudes. Put simply, the process of using cognitive distortions is not unique to sex offenders. This has proven to be much easier said than done, however. Either through self—report or through the use of certain types of physiological assessment instruments, the presence of some of these and other types of deviant sexual interests or arousal patterns can be identified. Some sex offenders have mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, or other disorders, just as many people in the general public do. Because these types of interests, urges, arousal, or even preferences can be so strong, it is believed that they are a significant driving force behind the initial onset of sexually abusive behaviors for some sex offenders. And some, but not all, of these characteristics also predict reoffending among known sex offenders. Marshall points out, however, the literature does not support the notion that all sex offenders have been sexually abused. Yet they engage in this behavior anyway. So that you have a clear understanding of the kinds of factors that are related to recidivism, I will highlight them based on the kinds of factors that are static or unchangeable, and those which have the potential to change over time. At the same time, these same professionals may be equally challenged with respect to how to best tailor strategies and interventions for those offenders whose level of intellectual functioning falls well below the average. Key Examples of Static Risk Factors For example, among other factors, researchers have found the following static factors tend to predict sexual recidivism: Do you believe that sex offenders are more similar to other community members than they are different? That, too, is a common characteristic of sex offenders. Some sex offenders may even prefer one or more of these types of behaviors over healthy, consenting sexual relationships with age—appropriate partners—hence, the term deviant sexual preferences. Cognitive Distortions or Pro—Offending Attitudes Those who work in this field generally agree that sex offenders are aware that acts such as rape and child molestation are not only illegal but also harmful to others. That way, we, too, can avoid feeling guilty or badly about what we are doing. In fact, you may have found yourself having a hard time trying to stay just one step ahead of an offender who seems to have great skill at outsmarting others. Keep in mind that some of these features or characteristics can also be found in samples of other criminals, or within the general population, or even among some of the people in this room! For example, law enforcement agents may have the expectation that if there is a profile of the typical sex offender, it might be easier to identify suspects when incidents of sexual assault are reported and the perpetrators have not yet been caught. As you have likely experienced in your work, there is no usual age that represents the sex offender—some are young, some are middle—aged, and some are more elderly. This is different from other types of crime, in which socioeconomic status or level of social achievement seems to be a risk factor. In fact, because they are such a heterogeneous group, it is sometimes difficult to discern how they are uniquely different from other types of criminals or from those of us in the general public, other than the fact that they have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors. Researchers have invested a great deal of effort in exploring these issues so that we may begin to understand or explain why some individuals engage in sexually abusive behaviors, and so that we are better able to make decisions about the kinds of interventions that may be most effective for certain aspects of this population.
Video about personality traits of a sex offender:
7 Signs of Grooming by a Sexual Predator
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