Cognitive Distortions as a Factor Used in Assessing the Risk of Unlawful Sexual Conduct towards Minors 1041
Post-graduate Student of the Department of Legal Psychology of the Faculty of Legal Psychology, Moscow City Psychological Pedagogical University, Moscow, Russia
PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Senior Researcher at the Laboratory of Child and Adolescent Psychology, V.P. Serbsky National Medical Research Center of Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia
The article reviews the current scientific literature, mostly foreign, on the problem of assessing cognitive distortions as a risk factor for committing sexual unlawful acts against minors. The risk factors of developing the delinquent behavior in general as well as factors specific to the individuals who had committed sexual delicts are described. The content of the cognitive sphere, offenders’ views about the victim and interpretations of behavior and beliefs of the victim are especially addressed. The causes of formation of negative attitudes to sexuality, the classification of cognitive distortions and specificity of such distortions in the different groups of offenders are presented. The methodology used to assess the severity of cognitive distortions, their range of application and some limitations in interpreting the findings are discussed. The problem of psycho-correctional and psychotherapeutic work with individuals who had committed sexual delicts is outlined: types of therapy and advantages and disadvantages of different approaches are listed; the appropriateness of therapy in dealing with sex offenders is discussed.
Keywords: risk factors, delinquent sexual behavior, personality of a sexual offender, sexual abuse of children, cognitive distortions.
Column: Juridical Psychology
Antonyan Yu.M. Rol' konkretnoi zhiznennoi situacii v
sovershenii prestupleniya. M., 1973.
Starovich Z. Sudebnaya seksologiya. M., 1991.
Tkachenko A.A., Vvedenskii G.E., Dvoryanchikov N.V.
Sudebnaya seksologiya. M., 2001.
Burn M.F., Brown S. A Review of the Cognitive Distortions
in Child Sex Offenders: An Examination of the Motivations and Mechanisms that
Underlie the Justification for Abuse // Aggression and Violent Behavior. 2006.
Glossary of Terms Used in the Management and Treatment of
Sexual Offenders. Centre for Sex Offender Management, 1999.
Graig L.A., Brown K.D., Beech A.R. Assessing Risk in Sex
Offenders: A Practitioner’s Guide. Wiley, 2008.
Graig L.A. Controversies in Assessing Risk and Deviancy in
Sex Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities // Psychology, Crime & Law.
2010. Vol. 16. P. 75-101.
Grossman L.S., Martis B., Fichtner Ch.G. Are Sex Offenders
Treatable? A Research Overview // Psychiatric Services. 1999. Vol. 50. №
Hanson K. Assessing Sex Offenders // Violence Risk.
Assessment and Management/ Ed. S.Hucker, K.Webster. Wiley, 2007.
Hanson K., Harris A. The Sex Offender Need
Assessment Rating (SONAR): A Method for Measuring Change in Risk Levels. 2000.
Hocket J.M. An Umbrella of Dominance? An Examination
of Oppressive Beliefs in the Context of Rape. Kansas State University,
Jones J.J. Child Sex Offender’s Cognitive
Distortions and Related Personality Traits. Victoria University of Wellington,
Keown K., Gannon T.A., Ward T. What’s in a Measure?
A Multi-method Study of Child Sexual Offenders’ Beliefs // Psychology, Crime
& Law. 2010. Vol. 16.
Kolton D. J.C. A Modified Version of the Abel-Becker
Cognition Scale for Use with Intellectually Disabled Sex Offenders. Simon
Fraser University, 1996.
Kramer U., Drapeau M. The Cognitive Errors and
Copping Patterns of Child Molesters as Assessed by External Observers: a Pilot
Study // The Open Criminology Journal, 2009, № 2.
O’Connor R. Child Sexual Abuse: Treatment,
Prevention and Detection. Centre for Health Program Evaluation, 1991.
Pervan S., Hunter M. Cognitive Distortions and
Social Self-Esteem in Eexual Offenders // Applied Psychology in Criminal
Justice. 2007. № 3(1)
Purvis M., Ward T. The Role of Culture in
Understanding Child Sexual Offending: Examining Feminist Perspectives //
Agression and Violent Behavior. 2006. № 11.