FCRG members contribute to new book on sexual offending

Last week, a new book on sexual offending (containing three volumes) was published. The work, entitled “The Wiley Handbook on the Theories, Assessment, and Treatment of Sexual Offending”, is the result of a large project involving 6 editors across 3 volumes (Vol 1. on Theory was edited by Tony Beech & Tony Ward;  Vol 2. on Assessment by Leam Craig & Martin Rettenberger; and Vol 3. on Treatment by Bill Marshall & Liam Marshall), and 1 overseeing editor (Douglas Boer) who brought all the volumes (including over 80 chapters) together.

We are happy to say that three members of the FCRG contributed to three chapters!

First, Dr Ross Bartels (along with Tony Beech) have a chapter on ‘Theories of Deviant Sexual Fantasy’ in Volume 1 (Theory). This marks one of the only existing publications that consolidates the existing literature pertaining to the theoretical underpinnings of deviant sexual fantasies (and also includes the authors’ new model – the ‘Dual-Process Model of Sexual Thinking’).

Second, Ross also contributed another chapter (along with Nicola Gray and Robert Snowden) entitled ‘Indirect Measures of Deviant Sexual Interest’ (in Vol.2 on Assessment). The chapter provides a review of studies that use response-latency measures of deviant sexual interest. While many studies are being frequently published in this area, the chapter provides researchers, clinicians, & other forensic professionals with a general overview of the field.

Third, Prof. Todd Hogue and Charlotte Wesson (along with Prof. Derek Perkins) have contributed a chapter entitled ‘Eye-tracking and assessing sexual interest in forensic contexts to Vol. 2 (Assessment). The chapter focuses a relatively new method of assessing sexual interest (both typical and atypical) – eye-tracking. Todd and Charlotte review the existing studies, concluding that it holds promise as a reliable and hard-to-fake assessment tool.

For more about the book – click here

New publications from Hannah Merdian & Danielle Kettleborough

Good news!

PhD student Danielle Kettleborough and her supervisor Dr Hannah Merdian have had a paper published in the Journal of Sexual Aggression. The paper is entitled “Gateway to offending behaviour: permission-giving thoughts of online users of child sexual exploitation material” and involved thematically analysing the views of 16 forensic professionals regarding their views on the thinking patterns of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) users. Four overarching themes were identified. (1) Perceived Nature of Children (perception of children portrayed in CSEM, as well as children in general), (2) Non-sexual Engagement with CSEM (motivating factors that are not inherently sexual in nature), (3) Denial of Harm (perception of the level of harm caused by CSEM), and (4) Expression of a General Sexual Preference (general interest in deviant sexual behaviour). Danielle and Hannah discuss the important implication that this study offers, including theoretical insight (e.g., differences between CSEM subtypes) and practical utility (e.g., moving towards developing a scale). The article can be found here

Hannah Merdian has also had another paper published (in Psychology, Crime, & Law) along with two of her ex-MSc students (Rebecca Crookes & Charlotte Hassett). The paper is entitled ” ‘So what about the stories?’ An exploratory study of the definition, use, and function of Narrative Child Sexual Exploitation Material”. It reports a study on a topic that has received very little attention in the field; namely, CSEM that is narrative-based (i.e., non-visual) or N-CSEM. In an attempt to define and conceptualise N-CSEM, the authors interviewed 11 professionals who had worked with N-CSEM users. Using thematic analysis with the interview data, 3 overarching themes emerged with regards to N-CSEM: (1) conceptual and legal definitions; (2) considering harm of N-CSEM; and (3) function of N-CSEM. As the authors state, “the study provides insight into N-CSEM as a separate entity from visual CSEM, challenging and informing legal decision-making and assessment and treatment providers for users of CSEM”. The study also provides researches with a base from which to begin exploring N-CSEM more deeply. The article can found here


New publication from Dr Adrian Parke!

A new paper has just been published by FCRG member – Dr Adrian Parke (in conjunction with colleagues at Nottingham Trent University) – in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.

An Open Access version can found here.

Drawing upon the academic literature on how emotions can affect decision-making, the paper discusses the idea of using positive emotions (e.g., positively framed messages) to help people stop gambling. The article offers scientifically sound ideas that can be tested experimentally and which may contribute to the development of useful strategies for reducing problem-gambling.

The reference for the paper is below:

Harris, A., Parke, A. & Griffiths, M.D. (2016). The Case for Using Personally Relevant and Emotionally Stimulating Gambling Messages as a Gambling Harm-Minimisation Strategy. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, (online first), 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11469-016-9698-7

Dr Amanda Roberts’ Gambling Research Hits the News

Recently, FCRG member Dr Amanda Roberts published a study on gambling and violence in UK men (see previous post on it here).

The findings of the study are of importance to both those interested in understanding and helping problem gamblers, as well as those interested in understanding violence in men. Moreover, the study has also caught the eye of the press – specifically, Science Daily, The Times, and the Daily Mail. Click on each link to read the news articles on the study.

The full reference for the study is:

Amanda Roberts, Jeremy Coid, Robert King, Raegan Murphy, John Turner, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Katie Palmer Du Preez, Jason Landon (2016). Gambling and violence in a nationally representative sample of UK men. Addiction, Online Version. doi: 10.1111/add.13522

Drs Hannah Merdian & Ross Bartels present at IATSO 2016

Last week (6-10th Sept), FCRG members Hannah Merdian and Ross Bartels attended and presented at the 14th conference of the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Hannah at IATSO 2016


Hannah gave two presentations. One was alongside Prof. Derek Perkins and centred on describing the new ‘Merdian-Perkins Pathways Model’ of Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) use. Here, Hannah discussed the numerous factors that interact to influence CSEM offending. Prof. Perkins showed how the model can be applied to a real-world case. The second talk was about findings from a study conducted by PhD student Danielle Kettleborough contrasting CSEM users with a community members on various psychological factors.


Ross at IATSO 2016


Ross also gave two presentations. In the first, Ross reported findings from two studies that explored the use of mousetracking to assess sexual interest in community males. In the second, results from an interview study aimed at identifying CSEM-related implicit theories were reported.


In addition, Hannah was voted in as a new member of IATSO board, which is great news. Overall, the IATSO 2016 conference was full of exciting and insightful talks, with the bonus of being set in a lovely city.

Looking forward to the next one in 2018 in Lithuania.