Perceptions of female sexual offenders compared to male sexual offenders: a comparative study between specialist and non-specialist police officers

Swift, J. A. (2012) Perceptions of female sexual offenders compared to male sexual offenders: a comparative study between specialist and non-specialist police officers. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Previous research has highlighted that professionals lack awareness of female perpetrated child sexual abuse, which includes minimisation and negative responses to disclosures of such abuse. This study investigated whether police officers lacked this professional awareness and specifically whether there are any differences in perceptions of specialist compared to non-specialist police officers.

    Semi-structured interviews using vignettes and questionnaires were conducted with a group of six Child Abuse Investigators (specialist) and a group of 6 General CID Detectives (non-specialist). The content of the interviews were subjected to thematic analysis.

    The findings demonstrated that the police officers in both the specialist and non-specialist groups have a sound awareness of female perpetrated abuse. There was no evidence to suggest that disclosures of female perpetrated abuse were dismissed. The involvement of social services was considered in all cases whether the offender was male or female and there was no differentiation between offenders in relation to whether the child should be subject of a child protection plan. There was overarching agreement on whether imprisonment was necessary and the importance of appropriate interventions for female and male offenders alike. There was, however, some evidence of minimisation of female perpetrated abuse within the non-specialist group, however, this may be due to a methodological issue.

    Overall, notwithstanding its limitations, the findings from the current study are encouraging and many of the issues raised by previous research have not been replicated.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2013 11:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:16
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/10669

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