Author ORCID Identifier

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

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

DOI

10.1037/law0000028

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

Stevenson, M. C., Najdowski, C. J., Salerno, J. M., Wiley, T. R. A., Bottoms, B. L., & Farnum, K. M. (2015). The influence of a juvenile's abuse history on support for sex offender registration. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 21, 35-49. DOI: 10.1037/law0000028

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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