Yesterday (08/06/16), four members of the FCRG (Dr Ross Bartels, Charlotte Wesson, Prof Todd Hogue, and Craig Harper) spoke at the 2016 HMP Whatton conference. The conference was held in the prison grounds and saw a full-house of professionals (from various backgrounds) attend, making for a buzzing and interactive atmosphere. A number of speakers (including researchers, clinicians, and those who engage in both research and practice) presented talks on various topics pertinent to the understanding and assessment/treatment of sexual offenders.

Dr Ross Bartels and Charlotte Wesson talked about “Measuring Sexual Interest” – providing an overview of the strengths and limitations of existing methods, before introducing and presenting data on some newer indirect measures that they currently testing. These included: the Go/No-Go Association Task; Mousetracking; and an avoid-approach task administered via tablet technology.

Prof Todd Hogue and Craig Harper discussed research on attitudes towards sexual offenders, highlighting how they may impact on professional practice; anĀ the important issue that has received little attention. Craig presented data showing that, when under cognitive load, people tend to rely on sexual offender stereotypes/schemas when forming judgements about a sexual offence case.

The conference also included: Lawrence Jones (Rampton Hospital) who discussed some fascinating ideas about trauma and sexual offending; Dr Steven Gillespie (Newcastle University) who talked about female who have sexually offended, offering new empirical results; Lynsey Regan (HMP Whatton) who highlighted important factors that must be taken into account when working with autistic sexual offenders; and Prof. Belinda Winder and Dr Lucy Betts (Nottingham Trent University) who discussed childhood bullying and sexual offending.

The conference was a very enjoyable event, providing excellent opportunities for networking and very interesting presentations. The lunch spread was also delicious!!