Offence-related effects and perceptions of forgiveness: Experiences of victims and offenders

Tamera Jenkins, Hennessey Hayes, University, My
This thesis explores crime and forgiveness from the perspectives of victims and perpetrators. While extensive research exists on the traumatic or harmful effects of crime for victims (Davis & Friedman, 1985; Frieze, Hymer, & Greenberg, 1987; Janoff-Bulman, 1989; Orth, Montada, & Maercker, 2006) far less research exists on the effect that criminal wrongdoing has on the perpetrator (Collins & Bailey, 1990; MacNair 2002a). The literature likewise holds little in the way of explicating how victims
more » ... cating how victims and offenders may be able mitigate such effects. One factor that appears to make a difference in this respect is forgiveness. Yet while forgiveness has received more attention in the religious and psychological literatures, there is much less known about its impacts in relationship to the effects of crime. In this study I seek to gain a richer and more nuanced understanding of the effects of crime and forgiveness in the lives of victims and offenders. As the focus of this study is the understanding of forgiveness from the perspectives of victims and offenders, as well as an examination of how they view forgiveness as affecting their lives, I utilized an interpretive phenomenological approach. Interpretive phenomenology provides a methodological framework from which to explore detailed and intimate understandings of people's lives as they seek to make sense of and live in their social worlds (Reiners, 2012; van Manen, 1990); in this case for victims and perpetrators of crime. Towards this goal, in this study I employed semi-structured, in-depth interviews, conducted with a purposeful sample of 12 victims and 19 offenders ranging in age from 19 to 70. Following these interviews, I utilized an iterative process of data analysis, involving multiple readings of the interview transcripts and three divisions of coding which facilitated the identification of emergent and master themes within each case and superordinate themes which occurred across cases. In this study, I find that victims and offenders are decidedly [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/1326 fatcat:7z2oldndjrdwbm7b5pg3exno3i