Restoring identity: The use of religion as a mechanism to transition between an identity of sexual offending to a non-offending identity

Stephanie Kewley*, Michael Larkin, Leigh Harkins, Anthony R. Beech

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines the unique experience of participants who during their reintegration back into the community, following a conviction for sexual offending, re-engaged with religious and spiritual communities. To explore meaning Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted. Four in-depth interviews of men convicted for sexual crimes were undertaken and analysed. Findings indicate that through religious affiliation participants were: exposed to new prosocial networks; provided opportunities to seek forgiveness; felt a sense of belonging and affiliation; and were psychologically comforted. However, the study also found that the process of identity transition from ‘offender’ to ‘non-offender’ was not seamless or straightforward for those with an innate sexual deviancy towards children, caution is therefore advised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Volume17
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Community reintegration
  • desistance
  • sexual offender

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