Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3624-9188

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-17-2014

DOI

10.1002/bsl.921

Abstract

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.

Comments

This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: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., which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1002/bsl.921. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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