Examining the role of faith community groups with sexual offenders: a systematic review

Stephanie Kewley, Anthony Beech, Leigh Harkins

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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The aim of this paper is to examine the role of faith-based communities and activities in helping those convicted of sexual offending, desist from crime and reintegrate back into their communities. Here it was found that much of the current research is limited to non-offending juvenile populations. Where research has been carried out on adult offenders, these tend to be custodial cases and exclude those convicted of sexual offending. The role of religious and spiritual groups in helping people convicted of sexual offending to desist from crime, while reintegrating into the community is therefore, unknown. A number of parallels between the factors needed to promote desistance from sexual offending and the conditions encountered when engaged with a faith community are outlined. We would note that a religious and spiritual environment can: promote motivation to change, provide access to pro-social peers, offer moral guidance, provide a support network and help bring meaning into people's lives. The potential for people to use faith-based communities or organizations to facilitate offending, are also considered. Finally, implications for probation work and future research are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-149
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue numberPart A
Early online date5 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Sexual offenders
  • Rehabilitation
  • desistance
  • faith groups


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