Improving police officers' perceptions of sexual offending through intensive training

Darwinkel, Elli, Powell, Martine and Tidmarsh, Patrick 2013, Improving police officers' perceptions of sexual offending through intensive training, Criminal justice and behavior, vol. 40, no. 8, pp. 895-908, doi: 10.1177/0093854813475348.

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Title Improving police officers' perceptions of sexual offending through intensive training
Author(s) Darwinkel, Elli
Powell, MartineORCID iD for Powell, Martine
Tidmarsh, Patrick
Journal name Criminal justice and behavior
Volume number 40
Issue number 8
Start page 895
End page 908
Total pages 14
Publisher Sage Publications
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, California
Publication date 2013-08
ISSN 0093-8548
Keyword(s) sexual abuse
investigative interviewing
police training
sex offender suspects
whole story model
Summary We examined whether specialist police training on the dynamics of sexual offending can modify officers’ victim-blaming attitudes and negative perceptions regarding likely case authorization. The sample included 77 Australian police officers specialising in sexual assault investigation. The training, delivered face to face over 4 weeks, included focus on identifying elements of grooming in offending relationships and how these elements can be elicited from victims and suspects within a narrative interviewing framework. Officers’ perceptions of cases were assessed immediately pre- and posttraining using a series of case scenarios. For each scenario, officers rated (on a 10-point Likert-type scale) their confidence that the case should be authorised to proceed to prosecution and the responsibility attributable to the victim. For each case, officers also listed up to 5 factors to justify their case authorization decision. Overall, confidence in case authorization increased from pre- to posttraining, whilst perception of victim “responsibility” decreased. The pattern of results, including the qualitative evidence to justify officers’ decisions, support that the attitude change was due to greater understanding of the dynamics of sexual offending. The implications for police trainers, and directions for future research, are discussed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0093854813475348
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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