Research aimed at discovering why some don’t re-offend

17 January 2018

Men previously imprisoned for sexual offending but who have not re-offended for at least five years are being asked to take part in research being carried out at the University of Auckland.

Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist in the University’s School of Psychology, Gwenda Willis, who is leading the study, says the focus on men who have not re-offended could provide important information to help reduce sexual offending.

“We hear a lot about people who re-offend but the stories of people who haven’t re-offended for a significant period of time are rarely heard,” Dr Willis says.

“Those are the untold stories of sexual offending and they could offer valuable insights for psychologists, clinicians and practitioners who are working in the criminal justice system to prevent sexual abuse.”

Dr Willis wants to hear from adult men (18+) who have not been convicted of a sex offence for five years or more but who have one or more sexual offending convictions.

In particular, she wants to hear from men previously considered to be at a ‘moderate-high’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk of sexual re-offending.

Personal details of anyone taking part in the research will be kept confidential and participants will not be identified in any published material.

Dr Willis is a Rutherford Discovery Fellow and clinical psychologist with expertise in forensic and correctional psychology research and practice. She founded the Advancing Sexual Abuse Prevention research group at the University.

Her work focuses on strengths-based approaches to working with people who have sexually offended and sexual abuse prevention. She provides consultancy and training to clinicians and criminal justice agencies around the world and collaborates with researchers internationally including in the United States and the Netherlands. 

For further information and inquiries about taking part in this study, please contact Dr Willis at  

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