Psyc 379 Week 7 – Sexual Violence
Describe the role of coercion and consent in sexual offending.
o Rape is minority of sexual offenses
o Psychological Coercion
Threat or promise of social or emotional harm or gain
Usually effective with younger (than 16) victims
Is not alone a case for rape with adults
Assent vs Consent
Assent means agreeing but not knowing what you are
Consent means agreeing voluntarily knowing risks and
o Physical Coercion
Exhibitionism Voyeurism Sexual touching, etc
Most offenses involve light physical coercion
Describe paraphilia as well as its assessment and its relationship with sexual
o sexual arousal to inappropriate stimuli
o It is a disorder of sexual appetite, not the degree or intensity
o Paraphilias are fairly stable over time. Although it is normal for all people
to have different sexual interests for shorter periods of time over their
lifetime. Paraphilias typically start around puberty and persists into
o Paraphilia must cause distress, dysfunction, and disability (social
o Not much research in its predictiveness of sexual violence
o paraphilia is an important risk factor for future sexual violence but only for
certain features of the disorder and for individuals with a known history of
Describe relationship and reporting issues related to sexual violence.
o People are more likely to report violence when: It is perpetrated by a stranger. Victims may hesitate to report
violence by a person known to them, because they do not want to
harm them (e.g., send them to prison).
There are serious injuries or weapons involved, because they see
the potential for someone to be seriously injured.
The violence occurs multiple times. In this case, they may feel that
they have tried but can no longer fix the problem themselves.
o However most rape is by those known to victims, in fact usually they are
family members/close to the victim
o Even rapist might not see it as rape
Overall, the rate of sexual recidivism (or re-offence) is generally found to be between
10 and 15 percent five years after release from prison.
Reading 1. Sexual Deviance and the Law
Legal Relevance of sexual deviance
- Does the law recognize sexual deviance as a form of mental disorder?
o Definitions in law are narrower than in mental health, usually describing mental
disorder as something internal, stable, and involuntary
o Sexual Deviance meet this criteria
- Can Sexual Deviance cause cognitive impairment
o No. Ppl with SD have the capacity to understand that their thoughts/actions are
immoral/illegal by society’s standards
- Can SD cause volitional impairment
o Yes. Affects behavioural motivation or regulation
o According to the law what is uncertain is the nature and severity of the volitional
o Responses in sentencing can be retributive or rehabilitative
- So SD is seen as not leading to cognitive impairment but with the possibility of inducing
volitional impairment. Simple diagnosis of SD is not enough for assuming volitional impairment.
This must be demonstrated. This way the law avoids discriminating (all persons who have SD
have volitional impairment)
- Link btw SD diagnosis and volitional impairment is sometimes referred to as the causal nexus.
Diagnosis of Sexual Deviance - Standard 1: Assessments of SD should be comprehensive
o Many different forms of sexual deviance, mental health pros should attempt a direct
and comprehensive gathering of info on all normal and abnormal thoughts, urges,
o A corollary is that assessments should avoid over-focusing on convictions for sexual
offenses. Sexual offenses are neither necessary nor sufficient for a diagnosis of sexual
o Many people with SD never act on their urges
o Therefore sexual violence can be a caused by many other factors
- Standard 2: Assessments of SD should evaluate its course
o Isolated symptoms are not enough for a diagnosis. DSM IV requires 6 months, and in
most cases SD is seen starting in adolescence and continuing into late adulthood
o So mental health pros should evaluate the course of each symptom of SD that has been
present at any time
o Corollary is that assessments should avoid assuming that, once diagnosed, the disorder
is always present.
- Standard 3: assessments of SD should be multi-method
o Interviews, interviews with informants, polygraphic interviews, medical or physiological
testing, and behavioural observations