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Bestraffning av sexualbrott mot barn: En rättssociologisk studie om allmänhetens attityder om straff- och behandlingsalternativ

Haraldsdottir, Rannveig Alda LU (2010) RÄSM01 20101
Department of Sociology of Law
Abstract
Child molesters are possibly the most despised and feared of all criminals. Since children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, sex crimes against children provoke a great deal of anxiety and are seen as particularly distressing. In recent years, the debate whether Sweden should introduce additional punishment and treatment options that are specifically designed to deal with sex offenders has increased. One of the possible actions suggested in this context is to introduce a so-called sex offender registry.

The purpose of this study was to examine public perceptions about sex offenders that target children and whether the public’s knowledge of these crimes influenced their attitudes towards additional forms of... (More)
Child molesters are possibly the most despised and feared of all criminals. Since children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, sex crimes against children provoke a great deal of anxiety and are seen as particularly distressing. In recent years, the debate whether Sweden should introduce additional punishment and treatment options that are specifically designed to deal with sex offenders has increased. One of the possible actions suggested in this context is to introduce a so-called sex offender registry.

The purpose of this study was to examine public perceptions about sex offenders that target children and whether the public’s knowledge of these crimes influenced their attitudes towards additional forms of punishment and treatment in regard to these offenders. Data was obtained from a sample of 100 university students in Lund through a minor survey. It was hypothesized that the public holds some inaccurate beliefs about child molesters, and that the prevention of future crime is considered a legitimate motive for putting in place additional forms of punishment and treatment for people convicted of sexual offenses against children. It was found that many of the study’s participants overestimated these offenders’ recidivism rates and believed that all child molesters can be considered paedophiles. The sample was however aware of the fact that the majority of sexual offenses against children are not reported to the authorities and that children are more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know. The hypothesis that public perceptions contradict empirical research was thus only partially supported. The results show that the participants´ knowledge of sexual offences against children affected their views on how society should react to people convicted of such crimes. Participants with a lower degree of knowledge were more inclined to support severe sentences, question the effects of sex offender treatment, have a positive attitude towards a potential Swedish sex offender registry and consider the protection of the public to be the most important purpose of punishment. The hypothesis that the prevention of future crime is considered a legitimate motive for putting in place additional forms of punishment and treatment for people convicted of sexual offenses against children was supported. (Less)
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author
Haraldsdottir, Rannveig Alda LU
supervisor
organization
course
RÄSM01 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Punishment Sexualbrottsregister, Children, Sexual offender registry, Sexual abuse, Sexualbrott, Sexuella övergrepp, Straff , Barn
language
Swedish
id
1612701
date added to LUP
2010-08-20 12:10:46
date last changed
2010-08-20 12:10:46
@misc{1612701,
  abstract     = {Child molesters are possibly the most despised and feared of all criminals. Since children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, sex crimes against children provoke a great deal of anxiety and are seen as particularly distressing. In recent years, the debate whether Sweden should introduce additional punishment and treatment options that are specifically designed to deal with sex offenders has increased. One of the possible actions suggested in this context is to introduce a so-called sex offender registry. 

The purpose of this study was to examine public perceptions about sex offenders that target children and whether the public’s knowledge of these crimes influenced their attitudes towards additional forms of punishment and treatment in regard to these offenders. Data was obtained from a sample of 100 university students in Lund through a minor survey. It was hypothesized that the public holds some inaccurate beliefs about child molesters, and that the prevention of future crime is considered a legitimate motive for putting in place additional forms of punishment and treatment for people convicted of sexual offenses against children. It was found that many of the study’s participants overestimated these offenders’ recidivism rates and believed that all child molesters can be considered paedophiles. The sample was however aware of the fact that the majority of sexual offenses against children are not reported to the authorities and that children are more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know. The hypothesis that public perceptions contradict empirical research was thus only partially supported. The results show that the participants´ knowledge of sexual offences against children affected their views on how society should react to people convicted of such crimes. Participants with a lower degree of knowledge were more inclined to support severe sentences, question the effects of sex offender treatment, have a positive attitude towards a potential Swedish sex offender registry and consider the protection of the public to be the most important purpose of punishment. The hypothesis that the prevention of future crime is considered a legitimate motive for putting in place additional forms of punishment and treatment for people convicted of sexual offenses against children was supported.},
  author       = {Haraldsdottir, Rannveig Alda},
  keyword      = {Punishment
Sexualbrottsregister,Children,Sexual offender registry,Sexual abuse,Sexualbrott,Sexuella övergrepp,Straff
,Barn},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Bestraffning av sexualbrott mot barn: En rättssociologisk studie om allmänhetens attityder om straff- och behandlingsalternativ},
  year         = {2010},
}