An Update on Theories and Treatment of Sex Offenders

An Update on Theories and Treatment of Sex Offenders

Rejani Thudalikunnil Gopalan (Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, India) and Amrita Arvind (Maharaja Sayajirao University, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3958-2.ch019
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This chapter aims to provide an overview of the theories and treatments of sex offenders. Sex offence is a major public health and social problem, a violation of human right and has innumerable consequence for the victim, including the community at large. It becomes important for health service providers and policy makers to understand this problem, which is not yet clearly understood. This chapter discusses the concept and definitions of sex offences, briefing on the main theories of sexual offence and treatments. Though many theories and treatments are available, more researches are required for the causes, prevention and interventions of sexual offences to have better clarity in the causes and effectiveness of treatments.
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Sex crimes often elicit moral outrage from the public and they carry the notion that a sex offender is incurable and beyond any redemption which is not backed by evidence. The public expects and deserves evidence-based practices when it comes to safety. Sex offenders are a heterogeneous group of people who are not easily identifiable. They come from all types of social, income, racial, ethnic and religious groups (James, 1996). Offenders can be married or not, employed or unemployed have children and partners or not. Probably the only generalisations that can be safely made about sex offenders are that they are almost always male and they are almost always known to their victims (ABS, 1996, 2004).

Sexual offending can vary along a broad spectrum of behaviours, from non-contact offences such as exhibitionism to rape. Much of the research on the nature of sexual offending has focused on one end of this spectrum, concentrating on understanding offences such as rape, incest and child molesting. According to legal dictionary, sex offenders are persons who have been convicted of a sex-related crime, or of attempting to commit a sex-related crime. Also referred to as a “sex abuser,” or “sexual offender,” an individual convicted of a sex crime is, in most cases, required to register with the state’s sex offender registry, which monitors and places restrictions on their activities. Any illegal act that involves illegal, forced, or coerced sexual conduct against another person is considered a sex crime. While this definition takes many forms, crimes that are known to classify a perpetrator as a sex offender include: sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor, molestation of a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual assault of spouse, rape, statutory rape, infamous crimes against nature, sodomy or Bestiality (in some jurisdictions), genital mutilation, lewd and lascivious acts, indecent exposure and public sexual indecency, child pornography, prostitution (in some circumstances), sex trafficking, transporting a person across jurisdictions with the intent of engaging in sexual activities, incest, kidnapping, aggravated assault, murder, unlawful imprisonment, and burglary (when the offense includes evidence of sexual motivation).

In the best of the studies on recidivism of sex offenders, the definition of ‘sex offender’ is divided into three categories: Sex offenders who commit crimes of sexual violence against adults (commonly grouped together as ‘rapists’); Sex offenders who commit crimes of sexual violence against children within their own families (usually known as ‘intra-familial child molesters’ or ‘incest offenders’); and Sex offenders who commit crimes of sexual violence against children who are not within their family group (usually known as ‘extra-familial child molesters’ and sometimes divided according to the gender of the victim) (Gelb,2007) .

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