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Sentencing in child sexual assault cases: factors influencing judicial decision-making

journal contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Tiffany Lewis, Bianca KlettkeBianca Klettke, Andrew Day
To date, there has been limited examination of variables that influence sentencing in child sexual abuse cases. This study examines the extent to which offence characteristics (such as the number of offences, number and age of victims), the behaviour and perceived credibility of the victim impact upon both sentence length and the setting of earliest parole dates. Analyses conducted using data from 66 adjudicated cases of child sexual assault from the County Court of Victoria, Australia revealed that longer sentences were handed down to offenders who had perpetrated multiple offences, or who had committed offences against younger children. Lower levels of victim credibility were associated with shorter sentences and earlier parole dates for offenders, which were also associated with the presence of more harmful behavioural indicators of abuse. The findings are discussed regarding the importance of presenting evidence about the behaviour of victims following sexual abuse in criminal trials. © 2013 Copyright National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers.

History

Journal

Journal of sexual aggression

Volume

20

Issue

3

Pagination

281 - 295

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1355-2600

eISSN

1742-6545

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers