Sex Offending and Situational Motivation: Findings from a Qualitative Analysis of Desistance from Sexual Offending

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Abstract

Sex offending is typically understood from a pathology perspective with the origin of the behavior thought to be within the offending individual. Such a perspective may not be beneficial for those seeking to desist from sexual offending and reintegrate into mainstream society. A thematic analysis of 32 self-narratives of men convicted of sexual offences against children suggests that such individuals typically explain their pasts utilizing a script consistent with routine activity theory, emphasizing the role of circumstantial changes in both the onset of and desistance from sexual offending. It is argued that the self-framing of serious offending in this way might be understood as a form of ‘shame management’, a protective cognition that enables desistance by shielding individuals from internalizing stigma for past violence.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • sex offending
  • desistance
  • situational motivation
  • shame management
  • routine activity theory

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