Sentencing of male and female child sex offenders : Australian study

Deering, Rebecca and Mellor, David 2009, Sentencing of male and female child sex offenders : Australian study, Psychiatry, psychology and law, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 394-412, doi: 10.1080/13218710902930291.

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Title Sentencing of male and female child sex offenders : Australian study
Author(s) Deering, Rebecca
Mellor, DavidORCID iD for Mellor, David
Journal name Psychiatry, psychology and law
Volume number 16
Issue number 3
Start page 394
End page 412
Total pages 19
Publisher Australian Academic Press
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2009-11
ISSN 1321-8719
Keyword(s) child sex abuse
perpetrator gender
sentencing comments
sx offenders
Summary Research suggests that, in line with the chivalry hypothesis of female offending, a range of mitigatory factors such as mental health problems, substance abuse, and personal experiences of abuse are brought into play when women who offend against children are brought to trial. This is reflected in sentencing comments made by judges and in the sanctions imposed on the offenders, and as a result female offenders are treated differently to male offenders. The current study investigated this in an Australian context. Seven cases of female-perpetrated child sexual abuse were identified over a 6-year period through the Austlii database. Seven cases of male-perpetrated child sex abuse matched as far as possible to these were identified. Court transcripts were then located, and sentencing comments and sanctions imposed were analysed. All offenders were sentenced to imprisonment, but in general the women were more likely than the men to receive less jail time and lower non-parole periods because their personal backgrounds or situation at the time of the offending (i.e., difficulties with intimate relationship, male dependence issues, depression, loneliness and anger) were perceived as worthy of sympathy, and they were considered as likely to be rehabilitated. Further investigations are needed to support these findings.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13218710902930291
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 920410 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, Australian Accademic Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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