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Potential topic reviews

  • Children in the Courtroom
Is there any evidence to suggest that the legal testimony of small children in abuse cases is nearly always honest? Can small children lie?
What do cases in which minors refuse to testify tell us about the underlying circumstances?
  • CSO [cognitive behavioural] treatment; effectiveness of
Contrary to the social desirability hypothesis, the untreated child molesters did not respond significantly faster than controls when they disagreed with the cognitive distortion sentences. Most surprising, however, was the finding challenging the treatment effect hypothesis: treated child molesters were significantly more rapid than both control groups in disagreeing with the cognitive distortion sentences, and their response times more closely resembled their processing speeds for beliefs requiring simplistic semantic judgments than other groups. These results do not appear to be consistent with the idea that treatment teaches these men to be more honest and self-reflective in responding. (Gannon... see cognitive distortion)
[chemical] Castration.
More importantly, however, our follow-up studies of treated sex offenders against children revealed no effect of treatment on recidivism, despite promising pre–post comparisons on various treatment targets such as phallometrically measured sexual deviance (Rice, Quinsey, & Harris, 1991) Indeed, it appeared as if pretreatment phallometric assessment was more closely related to outcome than was posttreatment assessment. It is important to understand that the evaluation of the Oak Ridge treatment program for sexual offenders against children found an effect on recidivism in the wrong direction, not a small effect of treatment that failed to reach statistical significance because of insufficient power. This finding was replicated in an evaluation of the Regional Treatment Centre Sex Offender Treatment Program at Kingston Penitentiary with a larger and more heterogeneous sample of sex offenders (Quinsey, Khanna, & Malcolm, 1998). [...] The augmented sex offender programs did not produce large treatment effect sizes in follow-up evaluations, and the efficacy of treatment for sex offenders in reducing recidivism remains moot (e.g., Rice & Harris, 2003). Notably, the best controlled evaluation of sex offender treatment to date (Marques, Wiederanders, Day, Nelson, & van Ommeren, 2005) found no reduction in recidivism to result from a well-implemented state-of-the-art treatment program for sex offenders. (Seeking Enlightenment on the Dark Side of Psychology, Quinsey, 2008)
  • The effects of media exposure during childhood
The instant effects of viewing prohibited material. What can these correlational studies tell us about the long-term effects, and are the conclusions supported?
  • The [Roman Catholic] Church
Are offending rates among RC clergy higher than in other denominations? Are rates higher among clergy than among teachers, biological parents, foster parents etc?
  • Satanic Ritual Abuse
The debunking of an abuse panic that was once widely accepted among clinicians.
  • Modern inventions - "Sexting", "Teen Dating Violence"
  • CSO laws
In an attempt to reduce the occurrence of childhood sexual abuse, some state governments have passed legislation allowing the public access to sex offender registries. One of the ways this access is granted is through the world wide web (web). There is, however, limited research on the impact this type of community notification has on actual rates of child sexual abuse. This study investigates the opinions of 133 mental health professionals who work with sex offenders regard ing the implications of public sex offender registry web sites. Over 80% of the participants in this study do not believe that sex offender registry sites will affect the number of children who are sexually abused each year. Seventy percent of the respondents also believe that a listing of sex offenders on the web will create a false sense of security for parents, and over 60% of the respondents believe that sex offenders who are listed on these sites will become targets of vigilantism in their community. Implications, for future research are provided.[1]
Despite the fact that the federal and many state governments have enacted registration and community notification laws as a means to better protect communities from sexual offending, limited empirical research has been conducted to examine the impact of such legislation on public safety. Therefore, utilizing time-series analyses, this study examined differences in sexual offense arrest rates before and after the enactment of New York State's Sex Offender Registration Act. Results provide no support for the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws in reducing sexual offending by: (a) rapists, (b) child molesters, (c) sexual recidivists, or (d) first-time sex offenders. Analyses also showed that over 95% of all sexual offense arrests were committed by first-time sex offenders, casting doubt on the ability of laws that target repeat offenders to meaningfully reduce sexual offending.[2]
Releasing a sex offender from prison or placing the offender on community-based sanctions, only to have the offender commit a new sex crime, is a policy-maker’s worst nightmare. Fueled by misperceptions and public fear, sex offender laws have developed piecemeal and without rigorous empirical insight and testing. While policies and practices are well-intended, they are unlikely to resolve the very real social problem of sexual violence and may inadvertently increase victimization. Such is the possibility with residence restrictions. This type of law is among the newest in an ever-growing barrage of legislation designed specifically for sexual criminals yet what little research that exists suggests there is no correlation between residence and sexual recidivism. This article identifies 30 states with state-level residence restrictions and conducts a content analysis of each state’s legislation. Geographical and other assessments are also conducted.[3]
Every state in the nation has an age-of-consent law making sexual activity below a certain age a crime. n157 In about half of all states, this includes sexual activity between age-peers under the age of consent. In 60% of states, lewd-conduct laws make all sexual activity illegal under the age of fourteen. n158 Since every state now has a minimum age well over twelve, n159 according to the above research, the majority of [*187] children could be guilty of a sexual many states, an age-of-consent violation triggers a Megan's Law registration requirement. In a number of studies, the majority of adolescents found guilty of sexual offenses used no force at all. n161 Of the ones that did use force, only 4% to 31%, depending on the study and the age of the victim, involved the use of some sort of weapon. n162 The lack of a clear distinction between consensual and nonconsensual illegal sexual behavior results in an often arbitrary distinction between perpetrators and victims, with the majority of perpetrators being low-income boys, most of whom are already being observed by the juvenile justice system and thus subject to extra scrutiny. (Garfinkle, E. (2003). Coming of Age in America: The Misapplication of Sex-Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws to Juveniles. California Law Review, 91(1), 163-208.)
La Fond, J. O. (2008). "Sexually violent predator laws and the liberal state: An ominous threat to individual liberty," International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 31(2), 158-71. [4]
Wakefield, H. (2006). "The vilification of sex offenders: Do laws targeting sex offenders increase recidivism and sexual violence?," Journal of Sexual Offender Civil Commitment: Science and the Law, 1, 141-149.
Perlin, M. L. (1998). "There's no success like failure/and failure's no success at all: Exposing the pretextuality of Kansas v. Hendricks," Northwestern University Law Review, 92.
Merge SOR problems? The Admins 21:31, 9 May 2009 (UTC)