People in the United States live in an era of heightened fear of sexual offenders. The general public, especially women, fear sexual assault and for the safety of their children. Federal and state legislation has established stringent sexual offender notification and registration, and residency restriction laws to protect citizens in communities. However, a search of the literature revealed that such legislation is accompanied by some unintended consequences for community members and offenders. Research has shown that legislation, such as residency restrictions, has caused instability in the sexual offender population, due to limited available housing. Instability in offender populations re-entering into society after incarceration has been linked to recidivism. This qualitative study explored possible unintended consequences of a sex offender cluster to community members. The researcher interviewed ten participants, who reside near a cluster of convicted sex offenders. The study explored the fear of victimization, and in particular, how women coped with their feelings, worries, concerns, and fears, either for themselves or for their children. Lazarus' Transactional Social Coping Model was used as a theoretical lens for investigating and analyzing the phenomenon. Respondents reported that they worried about crime; however, they engaged in precautionary behaviors to feel safer, which reduced their worry and concerns about or fear of crime. The respondents also did not believe these precautionary behaviors reduced their quality of life. The majority of respondents coped with the stress of living near sexual offenders with problem-focused coping strategies. Their fear of victimization and crime in general should not be viewed as a negative, because it generated precautionary behaviors.
|Commitee:||Biven, Nicola Davis, Rice, Stephen|
|Department:||School of Public Service Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Behavioral psychology, Womens studies, Criminology, Public policy, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Community, Fear, Living, Sex offenders, Victimization|
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