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Chapter 14

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PSYC 2400
Jenelle Power

Forensic Psychology Chapter 14Sexual and Homicidal OffendersVictims do not report sexual offences for the following reasons victims often dont feel that the matter is important enough they believe matter has already been dealt with they feel they matter is too personal or they simply dont want to involve the policeSexual assaults affects a large percentage of the populationHigh victimization rates are reported among children and youth and adult womenGiven the large number of victims it is not surprising that sexual offenders admit to having many victimsHigh victim rates were reported with rapists having on average 7 victims femalevictim child molesters having 20 victims and malevictim child molesters averaging 150 victimsDefinition of Sexual AssaultThe definition of sexual assault has undergone substantial change over the past 25 yearsSexual assault became defined as any nonconsensual sexual act by either a male or female person to either a male or female person regardless of the relationship between the people involvedSexual assault like physical assault was divided into three levels based on severity issues Each level comes with different maximum penalties simple sexual assault maximum sentence 10 years sexual assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm maximum sentence 14 years and aggravated sexual assault maximum sentence life imprisonmentConsequences for VictimsSexual aggression has serious psychological and physical consequences for victimsChild victims of sexual abuse develop a wide range of short and longterm problemsLongerterm problems can include substance abuse depression eating disorders and prostitutionVictims of rape also report high levels of stress and fear that often disrupts social sexual and occupational functioning while also generating high levels of anxiety and depressionUp to 30 of rape victims contract stds and pregnancy results in about 5 of casesRape trauma syndrome a group of symptoms or behaviours that are frequent aftereffects of having been rapedThe effects of rape identified by the researchers were divided into two phases an acute crisis phase and a longterm reactions phaseThe acute crisis phase lasts for a few days to several weeks and the symptoms are often quite severeThese symptoms can include very high levels of fear anxiety and depression Victims of rape also often ask questions about why the rape happened to them and they commonly engage in selfblameHeightened levels of distrust and selfdoubt are also common reactionsThe second phase is more protracted lasting anywhere from a few months to several years A quarter of women who have been raped do not significantly recover even after several years Longterm reactions include the development of phobias such as a fear of being left alone or a fear of leaving the houseAnother longtern reaction is the development of sexual problems and depressionOften victims make dramatic changes in their lifestylesThe psychological consequences of rape victimization also include posttraumatic stress disorder The DSMIV defines PTSD as an anxiety disorder that can develop in response to exposure to an extremely traumatic eventPTSD symptoms include frequent distressing and intrusive memories of the event avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event and persistent anxiety or increased arousal symptomsSome victims continue to experience PTSD symptoms years after the rapeEffective treatment programs have been developed to help rape victims overcome the emotional suffering caused by this traumaClassification of Sexual OffendersSexual offenders are usually divided into categories based on the type of sexually deviant behaviour they exhibit the relationship between victim and offender and the age of the victimVoyeurs obtain sexual gratification by observing unsuspecting people usually strangers who are naked in the process of undressing or engaging in sexual activityExhibitionists obtain sexual gratification by exposing their genitals to strangers These two types of sexual offenders are sometimes referred to as handsoff or nocontact sexual offendersRapists offenders who sexually assault victims ages 16 years or olderThe term pedophilia means love of children Thus the term pedophilia is often used to refer to an adult whose primary sexual orientation is toward childrenOther researchers use the term child molester to refer to individuals who have actually sexually molested a childChild molesters are also divided into two types intrafamilial and extrafamilialIntrafamilial child molesters incest offenders those who sexually abuse their own biological children or children for whom they assume a parental role such as a stepfather or livein boyfriendExtrafamilial child molesters sexually abuse children outside the family
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