Challenging misconceptions about sexual offending: report (Link fixed)

Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2017

Reports of sexual offences crimes have increased over the last six years. Despite the prevalence of sexual offending in our communities, there is a lack of understanding about these crimes.

Myths and misconceptions about sexual offending are common. This is understandable, because sexual offending is a profoundly hidden crime. Much of what we know about sexual crime is imagined or gained through mainstream media

Most people would not be fully aware of the vast body of scientific literature regarding sexual offending. This is despite the fact that specialist knowledge is the key to effectively responding to sexual crime in the criminal justice system .

The purpose of this resource is to synthesise over 40 years of research evidence to present an accurate and updated picture of sexual offending. With specialist knowledge, we can work towards improving criminal justice responses
and outcomes in cases of sexual crime.

» This reference booklet addresses some of the most significant myths and misconceptions about adult rape and sexual offences, as well as child sexual abuse.
» The evidence has been collated from an analysis of the psychological and criminological literature.
» It provides a clear picture of what should be considered a misconception, alongside the current evidence of what is considered “typical” and “common” behaviour in both offenders and victims.
» There are multiple ways that this resource could be used. It may be useful as a guide to assist fact finders at different stages of the criminal justice process.

 

New digital resource on revenge po*rn & cyberbullying in SA

The Law Society, 2 November 2016

The Law Society and University of Adelaide have launched a new digital cyberbullying resource which deals with new revenge porn laws that came into force in SA on Friday.

A cyberbullying section has been added to the app Out of Bounds (previously called The Naked Truth), which also explains the laws surrounding unlawful sexual intercourse and sexting.

The new cyberbullying section provides a snapshot of South Australian and Federal laws that can apply to a range of cyberbullying activities, including revenge porn, trolling, and stalking. It also features a graphic novel style narrative about a school student who has been subject to cyber abuse, and the devastating ramifications for both the victim and the perpetrators involved.

The cyberbullying section is a natural extension of the app, said Law Society President David Caruso.

“As well as adding an extensive cyberbullying section, we’ve updated the sexting section of the app to reflect new laws which criminalise revenge porn,” Mr Caruso said.

“Sexting can quickly turn from digital flirting to bullying. Cyberbullying in all its forms is a particularly insidious and devastating form of victimisation. It is impossible to escape, it emboldens more people to demean others under the veil of anonymity, and the vitriol and humiliation can spread far wider and quicker than traditional ‘schoolyard’ bullying.”

“The South Australian Government ought to be commended for acknowledging this and strengthening laws against revenge porn. In saying this, we still see scope for further law reform that reduces the risk of teenagers facing child pornography charges for naïve but innocent behaviour, while maintaining a zero tolerance approach to sexual predators.

“Of course, laws can only do so much – the key is education.”

University of Adelaide law lecturer Dr Colette Langos, who collaborated with the Law Society on the app, said: “Many young people regard sexting as a common behaviour, so it is especially important to make sure they understand where ‘a bit of fun between friends’ crosses the line and becomes unlawful conduct.”

“Evidence-based research informs us that non-consensual behaviour in the form of cyberbullying or ‘revenge porn’ has the potential to harm a victim in a profound manner given the public humiliation which follows distribution of the image online. Law reform in this area may better protect victims.”

Dr Langos said the new law enables police to charge a person under the age of 17 years with a non-indictable offence of ‘distribution of an invasive image’ rather than charging a young person under the child pornography legislation. The new laws also make it an offence to threaten to distribute an invasive image.

“There is a big distinction between abhorrent, predatory conduct and conduct which frequently, and sometimes regrettably, occurs between young people without predatory intent,” Dr Langos said.

Mr Caruso said: “This app is not designed to scare young people into changing their behaviour. It aims to explain the law in a digestible and interactive way to help young people make informed decisions. Many teenagers, and older people for that matter, are not aware of the legal boundaries regarding sexual behaviour and online communication.”

– Download the Out of Bounds app on your Apple Device
– Download the Out of Bounds app on your Android device
– Visit the Out of Bounds webpage

Source

More than third of sexual assaults, homicides linked to domestic violence, ABS data shows

ABC News, Updated

More than a third of sexual assaults and homicides recorded in Australia last year were domestic violence-related, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The 2015 crime statistics also show that there were 21,380 victims of sexual assault across the country, a rise of 3 per cent on the previous year, and a six year high.

Key points:

  • 7,464 people were sexually assaulted within a domestic relationship
  • The majority of family-violence related victims were female
  • Indigenous Australians are far more likely to be the victims of some crime

 

Former Family Violence Perpetrators’ Narratives of Change (Report)

The Glenn Inquiry, New Zealand, November 2014

The voices of perpetrators have largely been absent from research into family violence. In response, the Glenn Inquiry sought to gather the voices and experiences of former family violence perpetrators to better understand what motivates positive change, and what can sustain this change, to ensure that family violence perpetrator interventions are successful in supporting perpetrators to refrain from engaging in family violence.

Download report here