Accessibility toolbar

Evaluating the impact of demographic characteristics and personality on opinions regarding policies for the management of child sex offenders compared to rapists.

You are being invited to take part in the above research study. To help you decide whether you would like to take part or not, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please read the information below carefully and ask questions if anything is not clear or you would like more information before you decide to take part in this research.  You may like to discuss it with others but it is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you are happy to participate you will be asked to agree to a statement of consent at the end of this sheet.

What is the research about?

This study is being conducted to explore public opinions of two types of sex offenders (child sex offenders and rapists) and policies relevant to these offenders. In addition, the study will explore whether people’s opinions are linked to demographic characteristics and personality. For the purpose of clarity, in this research a child sex offender is defined as someone who has been convicted for committing a sexual offence against a child. A rapist is someone convicted of committing a sexual offence against someone of consenting age (16+).

Why have I been asked to participate?

You have been asked to participate in order to contribute data to my third-year dissertation, with the aim of helping to improve current understanding of the research area.

What will happen to me if I take part?

If you are happy to participate you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire which asks about your opinions towards rapists compared to child sex offenders, and the policies in place/potential policies regarding these offenders. The questions will mainly ask you to provide a minimal closed response such as selecting your level of agreement with a statement. Some may include vignettes of certain laws/ policies in order to provide context for questions to follow.

You do not have to answer all the questions (you can skip any questions if you feel uncomfortable answering them).

Are there any benefits in my taking part?

There are no direct benefits to your taking part; however you will be helping to improve our current understanding of the research area in question.

Are there any risks involved?

It is unlikely that there will be any adverse psychological effects from completing this questionnaire as questions concerning personal experience will not be asked. However, if you feel that reading/answering questions on the topic of sex offending could distress you, then you are advised not to take part. If you do take part and feel affected by the questions asked, please contact one of the support lines listed below:

National Rape Crisis HelpLine: 0808 802 9999 0808 801 0818

University of Southampton students can also contact the enabling services department who will be able to advise you regarding access to university counselling services:

Telephone: +44 (0)23 8059 7726

Any questions you may have prior to taking part can be emailed to the researcher at:

What data will be collected?

Data will be collected through the use of isurvey; an online questionnaire portal. Demographic data will be collected anonymously including age, gender, and parenthood status, with no possible way to link survey responses to the individual.

Will my participation be confidential?

You will not be asked to provide any specific personal information such as name or address, so all responses are strictly anonymous. Data will be stored in my University of Southampton electronic file store, and be kept for a period of one month after the conferment of my award.

Only members of the research team and responsible members of the University of Southampton may be given access to data about you for monitoring purposes and/or to carry out an audit of the study to ensure that the research is complying with applicable regulations. Individuals from regulatory authorities (people who check that we are carrying out the study correctly) may require access to your data. All of these people have a duty to keep your information, as a research participant, strictly confidential.

Do I have to take part?

No, participation in this study is completely voluntary. In addition, even if you decide to take part and start answering the questions, you are able to withdraw up until you click the ‘submit my responses’ button at the end of the questionnaire. After this point it will NOT be possible to withdraw because the data will be anonymous. You will not be identifiable in the write-up of the study (for my degree); only aggregated data will be reported.

What happens if I change my mind?

You have the right to change your mind and withdraw up to the point of submitting your questionnaire without giving a reason and without your participant rights being affected. As your data is anonymised, it will not be possible to withdraw your responses after clicking ‘submit’ at the end of the questionnaire. 

What will happen to the results of the research?

All questionnaire responses will remain strictly confidential. Research findings reported as part of my dissertation will not include information that can directly identify you as no information of this kind will be requested.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any further questions regarding the study, please contact the researcher at:

What happens if there is a problem?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, you should contact the researcher at the email address above.

If you remain unhappy or have a complaint about any aspect of this study, please contact the University of Southampton Research Integrity and Governance Manager (023 8059 5058,


Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet and considering taking part in the research.