The Role of Family Support in the Explanation of Patterns of Desistance Among Individuals Convicted of a Sexual Offense

Allyson Walker, Lila Kazemian, Patrick Lussier, Chongmin Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the growing body of research on desistance from crime, there have been comparatively few studies that have focused specifically on desistance from sex offending. Much remains unknown about whether the findings from the general desistance literature are applicable to individuals convicted of a sexual offense. The current study explores this issue. Given the well-established importance of the social support network in the process of desistance from crime, this research focuses on the influence of indicators of family support on reoffending outcomes. We also examine the sustained effects of family ties on offending behavior over time. In addition, we look beyond traditional measures of social bonds (i.e., marital status and employment) and assess the impact of the stability of family support on reoffending outcomes. The current research explores the criminal career trajectories of a sample of 318 Canadian individuals convicted of a sexual offense and released back into their communities. Analyses yielded two distinct groups of offenders: one displaying a very low rate of reoffending that continued to decline over the follow-up period, and the other showing a higher rate of reoffending but also with steady declines throughout the observation period. Findings showed that while marriage was not significantly associated with reoffending, stable family support was significantly linked to reduced reoffending. We also found evidence of a sustained effect of family support on reoffending over a 3-year period. These findings underline the importance of expanding beyond the traditional measures of social bonds conventionally used in desistance studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3643-3665
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume35
Issue number17-18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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