Research Topic

Challenging the Status Quo in Practice and Policy of Sexual Offending

About this Research Topic

A large cumulative body of theoretical and empirical literature specific to men with sexual convictions now exists to guide the practice of forensic psychology. This has fostered the development of etiological theories (i.e. why individuals offend), better risk prediction procedures (who is likely to re-offend), clarification of treatment targets and techniques (what is targeted within treatment), effective methods and procedures (how we should deliver treatment content), and the context or environment within which treatment takes place (the where). However, intuitive or ‘common sense’ practices still prevail despite robust research efforts.

Therefore the goal of this Research Topic is to bring together articles that challenge, develop, and move forward some of the received policy and practice around the prevention of sexual crime. We take this opportunity to reconsider previous ‘knowns’ in the light of new evidence, innovative practices, and new conceptualizations of old problems. We aim to encourage innovative research that tests these assumptions and provokes discussions and debate about how to assess and treat men with sexual convictions most effectively.

This Research Topic is also dedicated to the incredible person and amazing forensic psychologist Dr. Ruth E. Mann, who sadly died on 25 April 2020. She started her career as a psychologist working in the area of sexual crime, and later coordinated a national strategy and evidence-based approach to what worked to rehabilitate people who have committed a sexual crime. She was instrumental in setting up the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel which ensured that all treatment programs in UK prison and probation services were independently assessed. Ruth is described by her friends and colleagues as “ a pioneer, trailblazer and had integrity which she lent to the wider profession...” and “I... will never forget her compassion and belief in rehabilitation and the power of hope.” (Williams & Travers, 2020). Arguably, her greatest strength was her ability to translate theory and make it operationally and practically relevant to people working on the frontline. As such, she was held in high regard by many colleagues across the criminal justice sector. Ruth was a champion for hope and kindness, and we would also like to see these values reflected in the articles in this Research Topic.

We welcome Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Brief Research Reports, and Case Reports. Articles may revisit older publications to build on them or critique them. In particular, work that focuses on previous papers by Ruth would be welcomed. Novel research is also welcome


Keywords: prevention, rehabilitation, abuse, sexual offending, desistance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

A large cumulative body of theoretical and empirical literature specific to men with sexual convictions now exists to guide the practice of forensic psychology. This has fostered the development of etiological theories (i.e. why individuals offend), better risk prediction procedures (who is likely to re-offend), clarification of treatment targets and techniques (what is targeted within treatment), effective methods and procedures (how we should deliver treatment content), and the context or environment within which treatment takes place (the where). However, intuitive or ‘common sense’ practices still prevail despite robust research efforts.

Therefore the goal of this Research Topic is to bring together articles that challenge, develop, and move forward some of the received policy and practice around the prevention of sexual crime. We take this opportunity to reconsider previous ‘knowns’ in the light of new evidence, innovative practices, and new conceptualizations of old problems. We aim to encourage innovative research that tests these assumptions and provokes discussions and debate about how to assess and treat men with sexual convictions most effectively.

This Research Topic is also dedicated to the incredible person and amazing forensic psychologist Dr. Ruth E. Mann, who sadly died on 25 April 2020. She started her career as a psychologist working in the area of sexual crime, and later coordinated a national strategy and evidence-based approach to what worked to rehabilitate people who have committed a sexual crime. She was instrumental in setting up the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel which ensured that all treatment programs in UK prison and probation services were independently assessed. Ruth is described by her friends and colleagues as “ a pioneer, trailblazer and had integrity which she lent to the wider profession...” and “I... will never forget her compassion and belief in rehabilitation and the power of hope.” (Williams & Travers, 2020). Arguably, her greatest strength was her ability to translate theory and make it operationally and practically relevant to people working on the frontline. As such, she was held in high regard by many colleagues across the criminal justice sector. Ruth was a champion for hope and kindness, and we would also like to see these values reflected in the articles in this Research Topic.

We welcome Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Brief Research Reports, and Case Reports. Articles may revisit older publications to build on them or critique them. In particular, work that focuses on previous papers by Ruth would be welcomed. Novel research is also welcome


Keywords: prevention, rehabilitation, abuse, sexual offending, desistance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

10 April 2021 Manuscript
31 May 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

10 April 2021 Manuscript
31 May 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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