“Offenders are Heterogeneous in nature, discuss”
Offenders are a heterogeneous population of individuals, which range from shop lifters to murderers. There are clear intergroup differences based on characteristics of the offender, victim and the crime. Therefore it is very difficult to discuss the possible heterogeneity of all offenders as one group, thus this paper will focus on one particular type of offender. Sex offenders are frequently viewed as a homogeneous class of individuals, the public do not tend to distinguish the difference between indecent exposure and rape merely considering these offenders as ‘deranged or evil’ (Bartol & Bartol 2008). On the other hand research conducted by Knight, Rosenberg and Schneider (1985) shows that sex offenders differ extensively in terms of the frequency and type of sexual activity they engage in. They also differ in personal traits such as ‘age, background, personality, race, religion, beliefs, attitudes, and interpersonal skills’. Furthermore there are fundamental differences in the Modus Operandi (M.O) of sex offenders, for instance gender and age of the victim, the degree of planning before the offence and the amount of violence used or intended. Therefore preliminary research shows clear disparity regarding the heterogeneity of sex offenders, thus the homogeneity of this group will also be considered. A person is labelled a sex offender when they are convicted of a sex crime; this may include, rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, paedophilia, frotteurism, exhibitionism, incest, necrophilia and so on. The majority of studies used in this essay will be centred on sex offenders who have committed rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and paedophilia. Thus it is necessary to define some of these terms, the most common definition of rape is ‘the penetration of the anus or vagina by a penis, finger or object or the penetration of the mouth by a penis.’ (Polaschek, Ward & Hudson, 1997). Sexual abuse is defined by the Sexual and Domestic Violence Services (SDVS) as ‘when a sexual act is intentional and is committed either by physical force, threat or intimidation and by ignoring the objections of another person.’ . The major difference between sex offenders is the age of their victim, rapists and offenders who commit sexual abuse prey on persons of 16 years of age or over, whereas child molester and paedophile victims are under 16 years of age. Firstly we need to consider when discussing the heterogeneity of sex offenders is the various typologies involved. Research has shown that offenders sexual aggression can be divided into two distinct groups; instrumental and expressive. Instrumental sexual aggression occurs when the sex offenders only use enough coercion so that the victim complies and expressive sexual aggression this is when the offender’s fundamental motive is to physically and psychologically harm the victim (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). On the other hand the assumption that sexual offenders always exhibit aggression is not always congruent; according to Revitch and Schlesinger (1988) many sex offenders are not prone to violence but rather are timid, shy and socially inhibited. Intra-group typologies should also be considered when looking at the differences between sex offenders. For example Groth et al. (1979) categorised Rapists into four main sub groups; power-assurance, power-assertive, anger-retaliatory and anger-excitement. This first sub group is the most common type of rapist, who rapes due to insecurities about their masculinity. The power-assertive rapist is socially skilled, displays a high level of violence and is sexually confident. The third sub group has high levels of anger towards women, commits blitz attacks and also degrading activities are often involved. Finally the anger-excitement rapist is rare and gains pleasure and sexual excitement from seeing the distress of the victim (Bartol Bartol, 2008). Groth and Birnbaum (1978) created the...
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