Public attitudes towards the treatment of sex offenders

Sarah Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    84 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose. To investigate public attitudes towards the treatment of sex offenders, and more specifically to investigate attitudes and anticipated behaviour towards a sex offender treatment centre being located in the local community and the acceptance, into the community, of known, convicted, sex offenders who have completed their sentences.

    Methods. A postal questionnaire sent to a sample (selected randomly from the electoral register) of 500 individuals in a British city, in May/June 1995.

    Results. Responses were received from 312 members of the original sample (response rate of 65%). Attitudes toward the treatment of sex offenders were often positive, although generally only if this takes place alongside some form of punishment. However, respondents were much less supportive of treatment taking place within their own communities and of accepting known sex offenders back into the community.

    Conclusions. Respondents tended to endorse the idea of treatment in custodial settings but if treatment is only provided in prison, large numbers of offenders would not be able to receive treatment and the process begun, for some, in prison would not be able to be continued after release. More work is needed to see why some groups (younger respondents and those in the Registrar General's socio-economic groups I and II) are more favourable to treatment in the community, which may then be used to gain the support of a larger section of the community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-252
    Number of pages14
    JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999


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