School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, 2 Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria and News Research Group, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia Abstract Differences in extent and nature of newspaper media reporting before and after the introduction of the Serious Sex Offender Monitoring Act in Victoria were investigated, critically exploring the interface between psychological, media and criminological disciplines.
Forty-three news items before the Act and 90 after the Act were analysed using a thematic and discursive framework. Hence, although the discourse and frames within which serious sex offenders are reported has remained similar over time, the introduction of the Act has dramatically impacted on the frequency of reporting in such cases.
Cognitive processes, mass media communications, media, psychology and law, sex offending. Failure to complete treatment was found to be a moderate predictor of sexual recidivism. Other studies have reported that child molesters are more amenable to treatme nt, and are less likely to be rearrested for sexual offences than rapists Proulx et al.
Hence, indicating a level of criminal versatility in this population Escarela et al. More recent studies commissioned by various Australian State and Federal governments have Correspondence: The Time for Action report indicated that in , , women reported having been sexually abused before the age of 15 National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, Such a discrepancy between earlier reported rates and these studies may arise from methodological differences.
Notably, differing indices of offence measurement retrospective survey vs. Interface between sexual offending, sex offender legislation and the media The media is prominent in both setting agendas for debate in the public and governmental forums, as well as reporti ng the agenda put forth by governing bodies. Kitzinger and Reilly observed that news media portrayals of risk are not necessarily congruent with expert risk assessments or empirical data about risks Kitzinger, b.
Despite the low rate of child sexual offending, the pervading public view is that sexual offences are committed by a dangerous stranger who repeatedly offends until he is captured Greer, ; Kitzinger, a. On 26 May the Victorian Government introduced the Serious Sex Offender Monitoring Act SSOM Act to provide post-detention supervision of sex offenders convicted of and incarcerated for sexual and ex- ploitative offences against persons under the age of An offender may be placed on an Extended Supervision Order ESO when deemed by clin- icians, using standar dised risk assessment tools, to be at high risk of reoffending.
Such orders provide for assessment and monitoring in the community by the Adult Parole Board. Other restrictions may be placed on employment, place of residence, leisure activities, and choice of associates. Offenders may be subject to curfews and are required to attend sex offender treatment programs Serious Sex Offender Monitor- ing Act, This distinction may encourage the perception that all child sex offenders are recidivists and offend against strangers Gelb, ; Leviore, ; Thomas, ; Wasserman, Such techniques may include templates and framing that become the dominant perspectives and are transposed from one even t or crime to others, thus encouraging causal attributions that are highly emotive but perhaps irrelevant Chibnall, ; Kitzinger, Such imagery overstates both the frequency of crime and the likelihood of victimisation, therefore impacting on community perceptions of safety Greer, ; Marsh, The, albeit small, group of recidivist child sexual offenders are highly newsworthy according to many indices of newsworthiness Kitzinger, ; Lotz, Thakker and Durrant similarly conducted a comprehensive analysis of all newspaper items reporting on child sexual offenders in New Zealand in The study had two aims: It was hypothesised that the extent and nature of newsprint media reportage would be impacted by the SSOM Act.