Athabasca University’s newest criminal justice offering, CRJS 495: Sex Crimes, delves into the study of possibly the most damaging criminology: sexual crimes. A three-credit course in the social sciences, the course ?provides both a theoretical and behavioural analysis of common sexual crimes,? says course professor Dr. Mark Nesca. Dr. Nesca feels that CRJS 495 ?will appeal to students interested in law enforcement or careers that bring them into direct contact with sexual offenders.? The course is offered through independent study online.
CRJS 495 consists of seven units. Unit 1 provides background, discussing sexual behaviours, crimes, and the various theories behind why some of these crimes exist. The second unit continues this trend, examining changing perceptions of sexual crimes, behaviours, and attitudes throughout history.
The main body of the course begins with the next unit. Unit 3 examines incest and pedophilia, while Unit 4 covers pornography. These units, and indeed the whole course, focus not only on the crime but also on ?types of offenders and the ways in which their behaviours can be modified.?
Additionally, CRJS 495 attempts to stay current, drawing in relevant aspects of modern society. Unit 5 particularly reflects this, discussing sex crimes and potential sex crimes that are linked to the widespread use of the Internet and social media.
Unit 6 covers homicides, focussing specifically on murders related to sexuality. This unit also covers the topic of sexual assault, and students will debate the merits of the various theories of its occurrence. CRJS 495’s final unit ties it all together, with a particular focus on offenders: how justice is applied, and the controversy over whether rehabilitation is a viable option for sex offenders.
Student evaluation in CRJS 495 includes seven unit quizzes, each worth five per cent of the final grade. There is also a research paper (worth 25 per cent), which is open topic: students can choose anything that ?is course relevant and has the approval of their tutor,? says Dr. Nesca. The course concludes with a multiple-choice final exam (worth 40 per cent of the final grade).
Dr. Mark Nesca has a Master’s degree in social psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and is highly respected in the field of forensic psychology. He is considered a forensic expert throughout the Court of Alberta and has worked alongside the Calgary and Edmonton police units.
For more information on CRJS 495, visit the course website.