Sexual crime prototypes and their link to public and political discourse

Harper, Craig and Hogue, Todd (2015) Sexual crime prototypes and their link to public and political discourse. In: BPS Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference, 1-3 July 2015, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

There has recently been a noticeable shift within the area of criminal justice relating to the importance of high-profile cases on societal discourse. This paper extends previous work on representations of sexual crime in the media to specifically look at the impact of the recent Jimmy Savile scandal on press reporting. Three studies are presented. First, an analysis of changes in crime rate prevalence representations (frequency data) and linguistic characteristics of sexual crime stories within the media (using LIWC computer software) will be discussed. Second, survey data investigating the impact of newspaper readership on individual attitudes will be explored. Third, frequency data looking at high-profile sexual crime cases within the national press will be examined in relation to recent changes to sentencing guidelines. Frequency data show a marked increased in the coverage of sexual crime cases in the national press in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal, however, this reporting appears to have become less negative following this case. A clear and significant relationship was found between reading lower-brow newspapers compared to broadsheets, despite a lack of significant differences in the linguistic characteristics of sexual crime articles in these publication types. Evidence was found for high-profile cases guiding legislative discussions and decision making. Literature relating to moral disengagement theory, and heuristic information processing, offer useful insights that could aid our understanding of societal discourse around sexual crime. A dual-process model is developed and discussed, along with suggestions for promoting more rational social discussions about this important issue.

Keywords:sex offending, Discourse, politics, forensic psychology, media
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:17838
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 09:01

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