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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

New literature review warns that current sexual assault interventions might actually increase offending among high-risk men

Comment: Yet more evidence that good intentions and attempts to change societies en masse with faulty social science doesn't work. Moreover, by "high risk" men they mean sociopaths and psychopaths. Such interventions only serve to incite them. Again, social psychology needs to expand its research into ponerology.


Alex Fradera
Research Digest

Psychology can help people one person at a time, but it also holds the promise of changing society at a mass scale, through campaigns to change attitudes and behaviour. One such endeavour is the development of programmes to reduce the rates of sexual assault of women on university campuses. But in a literature review in Aggression and Violent Behavior, researchers from the University of California make the case that such programmes may not just be ineffective, but counterproductive.

In 2013 the US passed its Violence Against Women Act; in response most US university campuses launched programmes that aimed to reduce sexual assault by raising awareness, changing attitudes and behaviours and encouraging bystanders to take a stand. But there has been little systematic evaluation of these programmes, and the evidence for any benefits is thus far thin. Of the 140 college-based behaviour change programmes studied by the Center for Disease Control, it recommended only three on the balance of evidence; all three focused on changing bystander action and two of the three merely showed “promise of effectiveness”. Other reviews have produced slightly more positive conclusions but often with weak effects or without evidence of actual behaviour change.

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