Friday, June 19, 2009

Self-regulation and sex offenders

The self-regulation model is a theory used to explain why sex-offenders reoffend. It talks about two factors. The first one is avoidance or approach - whether the sex offenders want to avoid committing more crimes or to commit them again. The second part deals with how the offenders regulate their behaviour to achieve their goals - either passively with no clearly-thought-out strategy or actively taking more concrete steps to achieve their goals. This gives a total of four categories into which offenders can be placed: avoidant-active, avoidant-passive, approach-passive and approach-active. Avoidant-active offenders are the least dangerous (although this is relative and they can re-offend if their active strategies are of poor quality) and approach-active ones are the most dangerous. It is not known whether this framework can be applied to sex offenders with learning disabilities so researchers from Birmingham University and two local NHS trusts studied 28 sex offenders with a learning disability. They found that the offenders could be fitted into the four categories and that there were similar numbers of offenders in each category compared to offenders without learning disabilities. The offenders who used a passive self-regulatory style had a lower level of intellectual functioning than those with a more active style.

Ford, Hannah J., Rose, John and Thrift, Sue - An evaluation of the applicability of the self-regulation model to sexual offenders with intellectual disabilities Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology June 2009, 20(3), 440-457

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