The University of Southampton
Courses

CRIM3007 Violent and Sexual Offenders

Module Overview

Would you like to understand why people - mostly men - are violent, or commit rape, or sexually abuse young children? Are people who do such things mentally ill? What might have happened to them in their lives that makes them commit such serious offences? Can such people be rehabilitated? Or should they just be locked up forever? These are the kind of challenging but intriguing questions which this third year optional module asks you to consider. It brings together theory and practice from forensic psychiatry and psychology, sociological criminology, and psychoanalysis to consider some of the possible causes of violent and sexually violent crime, and possible ways of working effectively with these offenders to help them to change.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To foster in undergraduate students an enhanced understanding and critical appreciation of some of the proposed causes of violent and sexually violent crime, and the complex and contentious issues surrounding the assessment, management, and rehabilitation of people who commit these crimes.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the contested concept of dangerousness, in criminal law and forensic psychiatry and psychology, its application in criminal justice policy and practice, and its implications for offenders.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical and empirically derived explanations of the causes of interpersonal violence and of the psychological and social characteristics of people who commit crimes of violence and sexual violence.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the contested concept of offender rehabilitation, theories of desistance from crime, and their related criminal justice policy and practice implications.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically and independently and to problem-solve.
  • Demonstrate an ability to utilise ideas from social sciences and to understand the value of interdisciplinary approaches.
  • Demonstrate written and verbal skills of comprehension, analysis, interpretation, presentation, and debate.
  • Demonstrate research skills, including the ability to identify and gather appropriate library and web-based resources, to analyse them, and to use them to construct a coherent and logical argument.
  • Demonstrate organizational and time management skills.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work both independently and constructively with others.

Syllabus

The syllabus contains three substantive themes: forensic psychopathology; psychosocial understandings of offending and offenders; and offender rehabilitation. The module begins by considering the role of mental illness, psychopathy, and personality disorder in the commission of violent and sexual offending, and the use of psychological risk assessment tools, including factors in clinical diagnosis, in the management of these offenders. The causes of interpersonal violence, encompassing psychological explanations, the influence of familial and social factors, and psychodynamic and feminist theories, are then explored. The module concludes with the study of key ideas in offender rehabilitation and desistance from crime, with particular emphasis on the Sex Offender Treatment Programme.

Special Features

The subject matter sometimes necessitates reading about and discussing disturbing, graphic, and hence potentially upsetting, material, particularly in relation to sexual offending.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught through a combination of 15 lectures and 5 double seminars delivered and facilitated by academic staff, with learning consolidated by students’ private study and exam preparation.

TypeHours
Teaching15
Independent Study135
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Howitt, D. (2009 or 2012). Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Psychology. 

Jones, D. (2008). Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Psychosocial Approaches to Criminality. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 60%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×