Author ORCID Identifier
We investigated whether and how a juvenile’s history of experiencing sexual abuse affects public perceptions of juvenile sex offenders in a series of 5 studies. When asked about juvenile sex offenders in an abstract manner (Studies 1 and 2), the more participants (community members and undergraduates) believed that a history of being sexually abused as a child causes later sexually abusive behavior, the less likely they were to support sex offender registration for juveniles. Yet when participants considered specific sexual offenses, a juvenile’s history of sexual abuse was not considered to be a mitigating factor. This was true when participants considered a severe sexual offense (forced rape; Study 3 and Study 4) and a case involving less severe sexual offenses (i.e., statutory rape), when a juvenile’s history of sexual abuse backfired and was used as an aggravating factor, increasing support for registering the offender (Study 3 and Study 5). Theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.
Salerno, J. M., Najdowski, C. J., Stevenson, M. C., Wiley, T. R. A., Bottoms, B. L., Vaca, Jr., R. A., & Pimentel, P. S. (2010). Psychological mechanisms underlying support for juvenile sex offender registry laws: Prototypes, moral outrage, and perceived threat. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 58-83. DOI: 10.1002/bsl.921
Criminal Law Commons, Criminology and Criminal Justice Commons, Developmental Psychology Commons, Development Studies Commons, Family Law Commons, Juvenile Law Commons, Law and Psychology Commons, Personality and Social Contexts Commons, Public Policy Commons, Sexuality and the Law Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons, Social Psychology Commons