An Exploration of Protective Factors Supporting Desistance From Sexual Offending

Michiel de Vries Robbé*, Ruth E. Mann, Shadd Maruna, David Thornton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)
3949 Downloads (Pure)


This article considers factors that support or assist desistance from sexual offending in those who have previously offended. Current risk assessment tools for sexual offending focus almost exclusively on assessing factors that raise the risk for offending. The aim of this study was to review the available literature on protective factors supporting desistance from sexual offending. This article discusses the potential value of incorporating protective factors into the assessment process, and examines the literature on this topic to propose a list of eight potential protective domains for sexual offending. The inclusion of notions of desistance and strengths may provide additional guidance to the assessment and treatment of those who sexually offend. Further research investigations are recommended to consolidate the preliminary conclusions from this study regarding the nature and influence of protective factors in enabling individuals to desist from further offending.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-33
JournalSexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Early online date20 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2015


  • desistance
  • protective factors
  • recidivism
  • risk assessment
  • sexual offender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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