Assessment of public attitudes towards sex offenders in an Australian population

Shackley, Michaela, Weiner, Carlye, Day, Andrew, and Willis, Gwenda M. (2014) Assessment of public attitudes towards sex offenders in an Australian population. Psychology, Crime & Law, 20 (6). pp. 553-572.

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Public attitudes towards sex offenders are believed to play a key role in the development of legislation and public policy designed to manage the risks posed by known sex offenders who live in the community. There have, however, been few previous attempts to validate methods by which public attitudes can be measured. The current study aims to address this issue by establishing the factor structure of the Community Attitudes Towards Sex Offenders (CATSO) scale with an Australian community sample and examine the extent to which demographic variables and support for sex offender management policies influence these attitudes. A sample of 552 participants recruited through online social media sites completed the CATSO as well as a number of items developed by the researchers designed to assess individuals' support for specific sex offender policies. Results of an exploratory factor analysis suggested the presence of four distinct factors which were labelled 'social tendencies', 'treatment and punishment', 'crime characteristics' and 'sexual behaviour'. Individuals with higher levels of educational attainment rated sex offenders less negatively than those with lower educational attainment, while those who reported being supportive of community notification reported more negative attitudes towards sex offenders.

Item ID: 47189
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1477-2744
Keywords: residence restrictions, community attitudes, community notification, sex offenders, sex offender registration
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 07:50
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170104 Forensic Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940402 Crime Prevention @ 100%
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