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Title: Empathy towards victims of sexual and non-sexual crimes amongst men with intellectual disabilities : comparing sexual offenders and non offenders
Author: Hockley, Oliver
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 0493
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract Aims: To investigate if levels of empathy differ, between two groups of men who have intellectual disabilities: those who have been convicted of sexual offending and those who no known history of criminal convictions. Methods: The participants (IQ Range: 55-69, N=35,) formed two groups: sexual offenders with intellectual disabilities (SOIDS; n=19) and non offenders with intellectual disabilities (n=16). Both groups completed a reworded version of the Victim Empathy Scale (VES-A) for two offences presented through a vignette, describing a sexual offence and a driving offence. The sexual offenders also completed the VES-A for their own offence, The Empathy Quotient (EQ) was completed by both groups as a measure of general empathy. The sexual offenders also completed the Questionnaire on Attitudes Consistent with Sexual Offending (QACSO) and the Sexual Offenders Self Appraisal Scale (SOSAS). Due to skewed data non parametric tests were predominantly used to analyse the data. Results: Sexual offenders had significantly lower victim empathy than non offenders for victims of sexual offending described in the vignette, but no difference for car offence victims. The non offending group demonstrated significantly higher general empathy. Sexual offenders demonstrated significantly lower victim empathy for their own victim than either of the vignette depicted victims. Empathy levels expressed by the offenders were shown to have a relationship with cognitive distortions. Conclusions: The results indicate that sexual offenders with IDs have difficulties with victim empathy when compared to non-offenders. Sexual offenders also show more difficulty expressing victim empathy for their own victims than they do for other victims of sexual offences. This implies sexual offenders have specific deficits in empathy expression and these deficits may be improved with successful challenges to the cognitive distortions the offender holds about these victims. Key words: intellectual disabilities, empathy, cognitive distortions, sexual offending, Victim Empathy Scale.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available