Fast Facts About Research Into Sexual Offending

Fact 1: Research into sex offending focuses on understanding and preventing sexual abuse.

Research into the factors that lead someone to sexually abuse others incorporates a range of approaches. These include physiological evaluations such as plethysmographs and other measures of responsiveness to visual and auditory stimuli; psychological tests and assessments; and analyses of such things as treatment effectiveness, registry effectiveness, recidivism, and other topics. In all cases, the goal is to conduct sound research that is ethical and reproducible, in order to better understand what leads someone to sexually offend and how to prevent sexual abuse from occurring through treatment and other means.

Fact 2: Research must be ethical.

International and federal guidelines require researchers who work with people to follow ethical practices to ensure the subjects of research are fully informed about the potential impacts to them and are not harmed. The goal is to protect the dignity, confidentiality, welfare, and human rights of research participants. These ethical standards apply to everyone who conducts scientific research and to all participants.

Fact 3: Research must be reproducible.

Sound research achieves results that can be reproduced by follow-up studies and independent reviews of the original data. Because research helps drive practice and policy, it is important that the results be accurate in order for practices and policies to be effective.

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