Date of Award

1-1-2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Alfred Allen

Second Advisor

Dr. Adelma Hills

Third Advisor

Professor Don Thomson

Abstract

Past research has illustrated that communily attitudes tend not to be reflected in crime legislation particularly when considering the victim-offender relationship and perceived seriousness of child sexual abuse. This study examined the effects of 4 different victimoffender relationships and the degree of trust within these relationships on perceptions of offence seriousness and emotional and physical harm, for the offence of indecently dealing with a 14-year old girl. One hundred and sixty community members used a 7- point scale to rate the degree of trust within these relationships, the seriousness of the offence and the emotional and physical harm suffered by the victim. Four two-way ANOVAs and one correlation were perfonned. Results showed that the victim-offender relationship failed to influence perceptions of offence seriousness, emotional and physical harm. Although the ratings of trust differed across the 4 relationship types, trust failed to significantly influence perceptions of offence seriousness, emotional and physical harm. Women were found to rate the offence as more serious and harmful than men. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons

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