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.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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