A second act in life. Desistance from sex offending: managing identities and coping with public shame.

01 October 2015 → 30 September 2018
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Criminology
    • Law
Project description

 Since the end 1990’s, interest in the study of the end of a criminal career, desistance, has been increasingly reflected in criminology. The processes that may change the development of crime over the life course are mostly divided in three components: individual, social and subjective components. However, a better understanding of the relationship between these three components is still identified as a research priority. An increasing amount of studies on desistance are conducted on specific groups of offenders instead of general offenders. Studies argue that the criminal career and desistance is unique for different types of offenders, or even within one group of offenders. The differences are especially apparent related to the role of the subjective component and its interplay with the social component. Still, the study of these specific groups should be further encouraged. A group of offenders, relevant to the study of desistance, are sex offenders, but this has only recently gained interest. Sex offenders are characterized by high recidivism rates, linked to the nature of their offences. They suffer from a chronic problem related to a possible mental health problem. Fine-tuning desistance research, with focus on specific types of offenders, will result in an increasing insight in the elements that shape the subjective component. It will increase insight in the reason why a social component contributes to desistance for one type of offenders, but not for the other one.