Assessing Victim Empathy in Sexual Offenders Using the Victim Letter Task

Assessing Victim Empathy in Sexual Offenders Using the Victim Letter Task In attempting to enhance victim empathy, it is common to have sexual offenders write an apology letter to their victim. This task is thought to reveal the level of empathy that the sexual offender has for his victim. However, until now there has been no reliable method for judging the quality of empathy revealed in the victim letter. This paper reports the development and evaluation of 2 templates to score letters written to child victims and adult victims, respectively. An acceptable level of interrater reliability was obtained for the templates. Deficits revealed by the templates did not correlate with scores on a generic empathy measure but did correlate with scales measuring minimization and denial. The measures were also sensitive to change following empathy training. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

Assessing Victim Empathy in Sexual Offenders Using the Victim Letter Task

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Sexual Behavior; Psychiatry; Clinical Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
ISSN
1079-0632
eISSN
1573-286X
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1019984202619
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In attempting to enhance victim empathy, it is common to have sexual offenders write an apology letter to their victim. This task is thought to reveal the level of empathy that the sexual offender has for his victim. However, until now there has been no reliable method for judging the quality of empathy revealed in the victim letter. This paper reports the development and evaluation of 2 templates to score letters written to child victims and adult victims, respectively. An acceptable level of interrater reliability was obtained for the templates. Deficits revealed by the templates did not correlate with scores on a generic empathy measure but did correlate with scales measuring minimization and denial. The measures were also sensitive to change following empathy training.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 13, 2004

References

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