Public Perception of Men Who have Committed Intrafamilial and Extrafamilial Sexual Offences against Children

Hartley, Megan and Bartels, Ross (2022) Public Perception of Men Who have Committed Intrafamilial and Extrafamilial Sexual Offences against Children. Sexual Abuse . ISSN 1079-0632

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/10790632211062188

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Public Perception of Men Who have Committed Intrafamilial and Extrafamilial Sexual Offences against Children
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Abstract

This study examined whether the attitudinal responses towards child sexual abuse (CSA) differ due to the person’s relationship with the victim (intrafamilial vs. extrafamilial) and/or proximity to the victim (close vs. distant). An online sample of 292 participants completed a measure assessing pre-existing attitudes towards people who commit sexual offenses, before being randomly presented with a vignette describing a CSA case committed by either a biological father, biological uncle, babysitter, stranger, or stepfather. Participants then rated the perpetrator’s level of dangerousness and pedophilic interest, their own feelings of disgust, and their punitive judgments. Controlling for pre-existing attitudes, the extrafamilial cases (stranger and babysitter) were perceived to be more dangerous (large effects; ds > .50) and more pedophilic than the stepfather (large effects; ds > .60). Also, participants reported greater levels of disgust towards the stranger than both the babysitter and uncle (medium effects; ds > .30). The findings demonstrate the need to account for the established heterogeneity of men who commit CSA when studying the public’s attitudinal responses. Methodological limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Keywords:Child sexual abuse, Intrafamilial, Extrafamilial, Attitudes, Public perception, Victim-perpetrator relationship
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:47240
Deposited On:15 Nov 2021 15:09

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