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Exploring criminogenic need through victim apology letters II: an IPA analysis of post‐treatment accounts of offending against children

Simon Duff (Institute of Work, Health & Organisations, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 10 October 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

Building on previous work, concerned with analysis of pre‐treatment apology letters of men who have offended against children, the current research focuses on post‐treatment apology letters of the same group of men.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 26 post‐treatment apology letters of men who attended a community‐based introductory sex offender treatment programme were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore how the men conceptualise and understand themselves, their behaviour and their victims after treatment.

Findings

The data suggest that the men express themselves in terms of need, however, primarily this is in terms of pro‐social needs, such as a need for forgiveness, rather than in terms of criminogenic need. The one theme identifiable as a criminogenic need is concerned with sexual needs and very little detail is provided that might explain if the need is not otherwise being met; if there is a sexual preference for children, etc. Thus, from these data, it is not possible to identify a specific target need for treatment related to sexual behaviour.

Originality/value

The results raise the question as to whether criminogenic need is the correct level of analysis for thinking about sexual offending and if treatment programmes that use the language of criminogenic need are an appropriate conceptual fit. The identification of pro‐social needs suggests that interventions may need to include work on what Ward and colleagues have referred to as “personal strivings” in order to have a greater impact on victim empathy.

Keywords

Citation

Duff, S. (2011), "Exploring criminogenic need through victim apology letters II: an IPA analysis of post‐treatment accounts of offending against children", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 230-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/17596591111187756

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited