Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Felicia Washington Sy, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


This study examines the relationship of dehumanization, public emotion, and social distance theory in regards to human service workers personal bias on the subject of sex offenders. This study aimed to determine the following: (a). To encourage human service workers to self assess for personal bias and counter transference regarding working with sex offenders. (b). Respond and support treatment programs and government policy that are factual based. (c). Increase the fair, objective treatment of those who have sexually offended. The researcher explored current government policies and its impact on those who sexually offended and society as a whole while questioning its impact on human service workers. A thirteen question survey was employed that encouraged human service workers to examine their personal bias. Using two well known social media websites, 94 participants responded to the online survey. The survey concluded that the human service workers studied were neutral and somewhat in favor of sex offender law creation while less than half (43%) checked their registries within the past year. Bogardus Social Distance Scale was utilized and it was concluded that there was a 49% preferred social distance element between sex offenders and the human services workers studied. More research is called for to determine whether personal bias of sex offenders impacts practice.

Included in

Social Work Commons