N8 policing Partnership App - Examining the sexual offending patterns of registered sexual offenders in Greater Manchester, to understand risk and recidivism between online and contact offenders

Project Details


Recent figures from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) report that there are over 5,000 Registered Sexual Offenders (RSO), with at least 3,000 requiring community supervision from the Sexual Offender Management Team (SOMU). These figures have continued to rise yearly, creating significant demands on the SOMU staff and police resources. The heterogeneity of sexual offenders’ contrasts with the homogeneous approach to management, which can lead to ineffective strategies to reduce the risk of reoffending.

The risk of recidivism in online-only offenders (i.e., those charged with possessing, making, taking, and distributing indecent images of children [IIOC]), are likely to differ from physical contact offenders and dual offenders (online and contact). Published research suggests low recidivism rates for IIOC offences, with studies reporting less than 5% reoffending rates over four years and even fewer cases of online offenders crossing over into contact offending (Faust et al., 2015; Seto et al., 2011). However, offender management teams who monitor people who commit sexual offences in the community report that reoffending is high, and police database figures indicate that IIOC offending recidivism rates differ from those reported in academic papers (Giles & Alison, 2021). For example, the National Crime Agency has seen a significant increase in arrests and prosecution for these offences and expressed that the internet and advances in technology is facilitating a rapid increase of online child sexual abuse crimes (DeMarco et al., 2018).

Therefore, this project aimed to provide a detailed understanding of IIOC offending patterns and risk of reoffending. Specifically, the study aimed to:

1.Examine the profiles of those arrested for online sexual offences in a ten-year period (i.e., to determine how many of this group are online only offenders).
2.Examine pre- and post-offending patterns of the non-contact online offender cohort.
3.Provide an initial analytical profile of individuals who commit non-contact online offences to understand the range of the crime incidents recorded.
4.Investigate the feasibility of linking this information to other data sources to inform risk management and help target resources more effectively.
Short titleSexual Offending patterns
Effective start/end date6/02/23 → 5/02/24

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