New way to classify dangerous offenders could help police solve sex crimes: UBCO study | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New way to classify dangerous offenders could help police solve sex crimes: UBCO study

UBC PhD student Kimberly Kaseweter and Prof. Michael Woodworth share their sex offender classification report with Kelowna RCMP’s Greg Willcocks.
Image Credit: Contributed
October 31, 2016 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA – Researchers at UBC Okanagan say they have found a way to keep Canadian communities safer from sexual predators.

PhD student Kimberly Kaseweter and Professor Michael Woodworth took details from crime scenes and came up with three classifications of sexual offenders they say will help police understand and ultimately catch sex offenders.

“These are offenders who have an extremely-high probability of reoffending, but they have timed-out of the system and are released,” Kaseweter says in a media release. “These high-risk sexual offenders are often treated the same way as non-violent offenders, once released, in regards to community supervision and treatment.”

When a crime has been committed, evidence can be used to create a profile of the suspect. Once variables such as use of weapon, violence and sadism have been taken into account the categories can be used to narrow the search.

“Categorizing these offenders will have a real world impact for the frontline workers in the Canadian justice system and help in investigations,” Kaseweter says in the release. “This will also have a major influence on treatment and will also hopefully reduce recidivism.”

Woodworth says the ultimate goal of the classification tool is to make Canadian communities safer from predators. The information can be used to predict characteristics of the offender, and their behaviour before a crime takes place.

“Findings from this study highlight the diversity and complexity of the highest-risk group of sexual offenders in Canada, and also reveal important investigative, therapeutic and preventative implications,” he says. “In addition to helping law enforcement, this could also be a valuable tool for mental health professionals who may eventually work with these offenders.”

The research has already been published in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Kasewater will present their findings at the international conference for the treatment of sexual abusers.

The release says almost half of sexual offenses against women remain unsolved.

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