A considerable amount of clinical speculation and empirically based typological research has been conducted to explain and measure the characteristics and motivations of those who perpetrate acts of sexual violence. Typologies of sexual offenders first emerged in the s and continue to be developed and refined today. While the general public and legislators typically view sexual offenders as one homogenous group, research has demonstrated that sexual offenders often vary in their offending behavior, motivations, and risk for recidivism. The current body of research suggests that some sex offenders do not fit precisely into one typology, but share characteristics with multiple typologies, or none at all. This chapter provides a review of the typologies for adult rapists, child abusers, female offenders, and cyber sexual offenders, discusses the limitations of traditional typologies, and offers suggestions for future research.
Rape and Matjews Theory and treatment. New York: Plenum. Female sex offenders: A Mathews female sexual offenders typology of solo offenders and co-offenders. Records of offenders were reviewed and coded to assess anger using a pervasive anger measure and violence used during the sexual offense. Typologies of sexual offenders first emerged in the s and continue to be developed and refined today. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2195— The researchers found that the majority of sexual offenders Jimmy chicken pants the generalist model. Marshall, D. As there are many possible clinical and research implications, we Mathews female sexual offenders typology not make any claim to comprehensiveness. The following types of sex offending perpetrated by females will be expanded on below: solo vs co-offenders; mothers who sexually abuse their children; and female paedophiles online.
Chubby stockings. 1. Introduction
Yet, not all sexual offenders report being sexually victimized during Mathews female sexual offenders typology. Simons, D. One of the assumptions of the traditional explanatory models of sex offending i. Elliott, M. These developmental factors interact with disinhibiting factors e. New York: Springer Publishing Inc. Likewise, of online offenders, 4. These female offenders report extensive physical and sexual abuse by caregivers. A Small. Female offenders who themselves sexually assault other female adults often offend within an intimate relationship as a Nuns covering of domestic violence i.
- S exual violence remains a serious social problem with devastating consequences.
- Publication summary.
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FCSO are a powerful social taboo. Even professionals in the healthcare or justice system were shown to respond inappropriately in cases of child sexual abuse committed by women. As a result, offences of FCSO may be underreported and therefore difficult to research. The lack of scientific data on FSCO lowers the quality of child protection and treatment services.
We therefore deem it particularly necessary for professionals in health care to break the social taboo that is FCSO and to further stimulate research on the topic of FCSO. We provide some general implications for professionals in health care systems as well as specific recommendations for researchers. We end with an overall conclusion. Stereotypically, child sexual abuse implies the image of a male perpetrator sexually abusing a female child.
However, due to an expanding research field since the s [ 1 ], it is well established scientific knowledge today, that part of all child sexual offences are committed by women [ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 ]. Although research data on female child sexual offenders abbreviated female child sexual offenders FCSO in the following References [ 1 , 2 , 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ] is available and can be used for reviews and meta-analyses, there is still a noticeable gap of information on what is known about FCSO as opposed to male child sexual offenders [ 15 ].
Consequently, the assessment and treatment of FCSO is insufficient [ 2 ]. One reason for the low level of knowledge about FCSO could be that FCSO are rarely registered in official statistics and are therefore difficult to reach for clinicians and researchers. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that child sexual abuse committed by women seems to be a powerful social taboo [ 18 ]. Therefore, there is a marked resistance against the disclosure of FCSO [ 19 ] even among professionals in the health care and justice system [ 20 ].
In order to encourage the disclosure of FCSO, enhance the thematic research, and improve the quality of child protection and prevention, we deem it particularly necessary for clinicians and researchers in the field of sexual health to overcome this taboo. This article is not a systematic review but is intended to provide a short narrative literature overview on the discrepancy between prevalence rates based on different sources official reports vs.
Secondly, we focus on FCSO as a social taboo that even percolates the health care and justice system. In order to overcome this social taboo, we provide some general implications for professionals in health care systems. In order to foster research activities on FCSO, we give specific recommendations for researchers in the field of sexual medicine.
We focused on data from countries sharing similar cultural and societal backgrounds. We included some additional studies that were published before the year , but had an important impact on this research field and are still frequently cited.
We excluded articles in which only juvenile FCSO or general female sexual offenders with adult victims were analyzed. When necessary, additional references were used e. Due to different methodologies and samples, prevalence reports of sexual child abuse committed by women vary within the literature.
There are two main sources of information for estimating the prevalence of FCSO: Firstly, official reports i. Due to this, it was not possible to specify the sample size by gender. The comparison of prevalence rates based on official reports Table 1 and those based on victimization surveys Table 2 clearly demonstrate a great gap.
Sexual offences against children committed by women appear to be underreported and not prosecuted adequately. Research so far indicates that FCSO are a rather heterogeneous population with different features [ 5 , 33 , 34 , 35 ]. However, some common characteristics of FCSO and their victims were found. The average age of FCSO seems to range from 26—36 [ 5 ].
The majority of FCSO in empirical research showed a rather low socioeconomic status [ 5 , 12 , 38 ] with little vocational qualifications [ 12 , 39 , 40 ]. FCSO further appear to be impulsive with low levels of emotional self-regulation [ 48 ]. Typically, FSCOs find their victims in their closer social circle [ 3 , 16 , 35 , 42 , 49 , 50 ]. The discrepancy between official reports and victimization surveys on the prevalence of FCSO clearly demonstrates the under-recognition of women who behave in a sexually abusive manner.
This indicates that reporting FCSO to the police or child welfare agencies seems to be a great obstacle. In fact, from the very beginning of scientific confrontation with FCSO in the [ 53 ], women who sexually abuse children have been a powerful social taboo [ 18 ].
Women are usually portrayed as victims and as being passive, innocent, and sexually submissive. In terms of anatomy, some have argued that women are receivers of sexuality which might make it difficult to imagine a woman as someone who sexually abuses others [ 54 ]. Instead, women are frequently seen as nurturers and protectors in positions of trust. They are thought of as mothers and those who provide care for others. Women who sexually abuse children undermine such normative labels and challenge traditional gender stereotypes that are firmly established in society [ 18 ].
The way in which members of a society perceive and respond to certain events is significantly shaped by medial reports [ 55 ]. Hayes and Baker [ 18 ] also analyzed the way in which the media reports on women who sexually abused children. The authors theorized that media reports tend to reinforce traditional gender stereotypes and therefore suppress the development of a public awareness of sexual offences committed by women.
Examining media reports from Australia and the United Kingdom, they found that the media mainly presents FCSO as aberrations and pariahs in terms of outcasts , and thus do not contribute to an atmosphere supporting the safe and timely reporting of offences by victims [ 18 ]. Mackelprang and Becker [ 57 ] demonstrated that this unequal perception of men and women who sexually offend against children is in fact reflected in societal judgements.
The authors asked undergraduate students to judge teacher sexual offence vignettes e. In addition, there has been an even greater tolerance for FCSO when they were described as attractive instead of unattractive.
This effect was not observed for the vignettes on male child sexual offenders [ 57 ]. Professionals in healthcare, criminal justice, and child protection systems were also shown to respond inappropriately in cases of child sexual abuse committed by women [ 58 , 59 , 60 , 61 , 62 ].
A total of Australian psychiatrists, psychologists, probationary psychologists, and child protection workers were presented with a variation of vignettes describing women and men who had sexually offended against children.
Psychotherapists who treat young patients experiencing mother-incest-abuse initially often struggle with the idea of reporting these cases [ 65 ]. As a consequence of FCSO being a social taboo, their victims often have difficulties in recognizing their experiences as sexually abusive [ 66 ] and feel intensly confused [ 67 ]. It is not unusual that FCSO disguise their abusive behavior as part of childlare activities [ 67 ]. This might in part be the reason why in fact even the offenders themselves have difficulties in recognizing their behavior as sexually abusive [ 68 ].
These difficulties might be even worse when the female perpetrator is the own mother [ 72 ]. Individuals who were sexually abused by their own mother were described as feeling additional shame and stigma [ 73 ]. As there are many possible clinical and research implications, we do not make any claim to comprehensiveness.
The resulting knowledge gap about FSCOs reduces the quality of child protection and treatment services. We therefore deem it particularly necessary for health care professionals to overcome the social taboo that is FCSO. As mentioned, there seems to be a marked resistance in the general public and the health care system to detect FCSO [ 19 ]. Historically, the same kind of resistance was documented for the acceptance and awareness of men who sexually abuse children [ 74 ].
Thus, in accordance with Mellor and Deering [ 20 ], we state that the overall awareness and appropriate attitude towards FCSO have to be improved in health care, criminal justice, and child protection systems. Consequently, this should help to uncover the abusive behavior for both victims and offenders. As media portrayals of FCSO and their victims are generally inadequate [ 18 ], instructions for journalists concerning the appropriate attitude towards FCSO are also deemed necessary.
The tendency to deny and minimize, leads to FCSO being a hidden phenomenon, undeniably difficult to uncover cf. We therefore advise professionals in both clinical practice and scientific research to consciously challenge and control their own underlying mechanisms of denial when confronted with cases of FCSO. Therefore, we propose education and information within health care, justice, and other systems.
By this, a network including members of different professions within health care, justice, and other systems might be built so that regular communication and information between different systems regarding the issues of FCSO can be established. Where great campaigns and activities for public outreach are difficult to implement, we suggest rather simple ways to contribute to public awareness of FCSO.
Media reports can be considered to have an impact on social discourses [ 81 ] and to play a crucial role in the way society perceives and responds to women who sexually abuse children and therefore undermine traditional gender stereotypes [ 55 ]. Professionals in the health care system are sometimes being consulted as experts for child sexual abuse, child sexual offenders, or any other related topic for newspaper articles or television reports.
FCSO are usually only investigated when they are registered in the judicial system i. As described earlier, women who sexually offended against children remain undetected very often due to several reasons [ 70 ].
Both of which should be helpful when trying to recruit FCSO. Additionally, online surveys are highly suitable to reach women who are at risk to sexually abuse children but did not yet offend against a child.
Besides, researchers already investigated female sexual offenders on the internet concluding that they use the internet to connect with like-minded women [ 82 , 83 ]. When creating the survey, we recommend simple language due to the relatively low socioeconomic status of FCSO [ 5 ]. As many FCSO reported on being abused in their childhood [ 41 ] and having mental health problems, such as depression [ 84 ] and alcohol abuse [ 45 ], researchers are advised to distribute their study link in internet forums and self-help groups on the internet for victims of child abuse, depressive patients and alcohol abusers.
Additionally, we suggest that researchers should not only include FCSO in their online surveys but also those women who are solely at risk to offend against children and did not yet offend against children. Differentiation between women who have a sexual interest in children can be made, e. These differentiations may lead to different subgroups with varying characteristics implying different research questions and assumptions.
This would be in alignment with research on men who are sexually interested in children [ 85 , 86 , 87 ]. General public and professionals both reinforce and maintain traditional gender stereotypes which appear to be barriers to the detection of FCSO [ 80 ].
It is likely that the diverting prevalence rates based on different sources official reports vs. As a result, FCSO are underreported and difficult to study which leads to insufficient scientific knowledge. The lack of research data on FSCOs lowers the quality of child protection and treatment services. The fact that even professionals in the judicial and health system appear to be part of this collective repression clearly demonstrates that there is a particular responsibility for researchers and clinicians in the field of sexual health to be aware of their own underlying mechanisms and inner processes of denial.
It is important to pursue an active approach towards FCSO. Moving beyond traditional gender stereotypes seems to be necessary to get over the confusion that women considered so far as caregivers, guardians, and defenders cf.
Reference [ 90 ] are able to be just as sexually abusive to children as men. Conceptualization, S. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List J Clin Med v. J Clin Med. Published online Mar Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Feb 20; Accepted Mar
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, — The fixated-regressed typology has been incorporated into the current models of sexual offending e. Attachment style and intimacy deficits in sexual offenders: A theoretical framework. Specifically, SRM pathways have been shown to differentiate offense characteristics and static and dynamic risk. In addition, few rapists specialized in sexual crimes.
Mathews female sexual offenders typology. Browse by Content Type
Another explanation relates to the anonymity of the Internet. As stated earlier, there is very little literature on female sex offenders and of that, very few articles related to female sex offenders online.
In terms of a further research agenda to help understand female offending online, Elliot and Ashfield suggested the following three areas:. Lambert and O'Halloran found a female paedophilia website and identified five women who posted on the site.
The women's construction of male paedophiles as predatory and abusive contrasted strikingly with their construction of female paedophiles as the natural recipients of children's burgeoning sexuality. As reported in Lambert and O'Halloran , in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the female paedophilia website the following passage appeared:. Adults do not have to awaken the sexuality of children in order for children to be sexual. Usually they do not. Children are sexual.
Lambert and O'Halloran found that in the personal narratives on the website there were "42 references to sexual motivation" p. It is worth consideration, particularly in terms of treatment interventions. However, this sample of women is extremely small and questions can be raised about the veracity of the posted comments on the website. There are many limitations regarding the findings concerning female sex offenders.
Another limitation is that much of the literature featured in this review has relied on small samples. Small samples and small custodial populations indicate a very small population of female sex offenders. Small samples cannot be used to generalise about a population and only recently have efforts been made to replicate some of the studies. For example, Vandiver and Kercher suggested that small clinical samples on which typologies of female sex offenders have been based could lead to literature that incorrectly correlates mental illness with female sex offending.
This can have an effect in how treatment is conceptualised. The same issue applies to relying on known offenders in the criminal justice system. Throughout the literature, sexual offences are also variously defined, leading to difficulty in comparing findings.
Many of these issues plagued work on male sex offenders in the early phases - and still do. A heavy reliance on gender stereotypes infiltrates dominant cultural understandings of female sex offending. If we can understand men's offending as multi-factorial, then it is possible to understand women's offending in the same way - highlighting gender as well as power, control, a history of abuse, coercion by a male partner, and other as yet uncovered motivations and underlying determinants.
Certainly there is little evidence of this in the literature relating to impacts on victims. The exception that proves the rule Female sex offending and the gendered nature of sexual violence.
Contents Introduction Prevalence of female sex offenders Characteristics: Offender and offence Typologies Impact on victims Treatment interventions for female sex offenders Conclusion References. Publication summary View publication as a single page. Male-coerced : dependent woman with history of child sexual abuse who forcedly participates or abuses child usually abuse initiated by male co-offender.
Psychologically disturbed : neurotic or displaying psychotic characteristics. Non-criminal homosexual offender male-coerced adjacent : abuses young females - perpetrator has no history of abuse, no relapse. Female sexual predator male-coerced adjacent : around 30 years old, abuses predominately young male victims average age 11 years old , relationship to victim not known.
Young adult child exploiters : assaults male and female young children, includes mothers and non-mothers. Homosexual criminal male-coerced adjacent : older woman, high-risk of relapse - forces children and young women into sex acts, prostitution.
In part, economically motivated. Mainly female victims. Sandler and Freeman devised their own typologies, some are similar, others diverge: Criminally-limited hebephiles heterosexual nurturer adjacent : Older offenders with a preference for early adolescent male victims.
Criminally-prone hebephiles : slightly younger offenders than criminally - limited, so age difference between offender and victim is smaller. This group have higher arrest and past incarceration rates. Young adult child molesters : characterised by young offenders average age, 28 years old and the youngest victims average age, 4 years old.
None of these offenders had recorded any supervision violations. High-risk chronic offenders : this group had the highest arrest records.
This group average age, 30 years old mainly targeted female victims average age, 5 years old. Older non-habitual offenders : low arrest records, with single sex offence charge likely. This group had the oldest offenders average age, 51 years old and was least likely to require rehabilitation. Low rates of subsequent arrests but high drug arrests and past custodial sentences. Lawson Review of clinical literature related to "mother-son incest" Lawson raised important questions relating to the differences in official reports and clinical literature and tried to uncover whether mother-son incest was rare or underreported.
She came up with five typologies: Subtle maternal abuse : the mother gratifying her own needs at the expense of the child. Seductive maternal abuse : the distinction between seductive and subtle is the motivation of the mother and suggests a motivation to "stimulate the child sexually" Lawson, , p. Seductive abuse may be experienced as pleasurable or confusing for the child. Perversive maternal abuse : characterised by the mother trying to humiliate the male child - this type of abuse may be an expression of the mother's resentment of men.
Overt maternal abuse : Overtly sexualised behaviour by the mother including initiating sexual interaction. Coercion is likely to be a feature and the perpetrator seeks to gratify her own sexual needs. Sadistic maternal abuse : The intention of the mother is to cause severe physical and emotional harm to the child. This is the rarest form of maternal abuse. The following types of sex offending perpetrated by females will be expanded on below: solo vs co-offenders; mothers who sexually abuse their children; and female paedophiles online.
Solo vs co-offending female sex offenders Vandiver undertook to isolate the differences between solo and co-offenders in a sample of female sex offenders. Prior to the offense, female offenders who sexually abuse alone exhibited a greater need for power or dominance, need for intimacy, negative mood state, extensive offense planning and abusive fantasies.
Females who co-offend with a male i. These individuals are further differentiated based on the use of coercion by the accomplice. These females have been shown to report a history of childhood sexual and physical abuse. Female offenders who sexually abuse alone i. These females exhibit dependency needs and often abuse substances. They are less likely to report severe child maltreatment; instead, their sexual abuse behaviors often result from a dysfunctional adult relationship and attachment deficits.
These female offenders report extensive physical and sexual abuse by caregivers. Researchers contend that they are often motivated by power i. Female offenders who engage in the exploitation or forced prostitution of other females have been reported to be motivated by financial gain and have higher number of arrests for nonsexual crimes. Cortoni, Sandler and Freeman found females convicted of promoting prostitution of a minor tend to be younger at age of first conviction, have a greater history of incarceration and exhibit general criminality e.
Female offenders who themselves sexually assault other female adults often offend within an intimate relationship as a form of domestic violence i. They are motivated to assault out of anger, retaliation and jealousy. To reduce the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence in the future, there remains a need for etiological research to provide an empirical basis for treatment interventions.
Although these female typologies are useful to describe offense characteristics, they like the male typologies do not provide a theoretical framework for the etiology of sexual offending Logan, To reduce the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence in the future, there remains a need for etiological research to provide an empirical basis for treatment interventions for female offenders.
Formal failure was defined by reconviction, violation and return to prison. In a recent meta-analysis, Seto, Hanson and Babchishin reported that in a sample of 2, online offenders, 4. Likewise, of online offenders, 4. Several typologies have been created to categorize internet offenders. In their review of internet offenders, Beech and colleagues summarized these typologies into four groups.
The second group is composed of individuals who access or trade pornography to fuel their sexual interest in children Beech et al.
The fourth group consists of individuals who download pornographic images for nonsexual reasons e. To date, studies have not examined the personality characteristics, criminogenic needs or risk factors of these offenders. A recent qualitative typology was proposed by Tener, Wolak and Finkelhhor , identifying four types of internet offenders who use online communications to commit sex crimes against minors.
The typology was derived from 75 case narratives described by law enforcement of offenders who met victims online or knew them and used the internet for communication. Data analysis identified four dimensions of offense characteristics: patterns of online communication, online identities, nature of the relationship and levels of expertise number of victims, child pornography involvement, sophistication of strategies and awareness of criminality Tener et al.
The dimensions were summarized into four internet offender types on a continuum of level of crime expertise high to low. The highest level of crime expertise, the experts , consists of sophisticated offenders who systematically procure victims. The experts utilize extensive planning, manipulation and techniques to procure victims. Expert offenders typically meet their victim s online and strategically manipulate them into a sexual relationship using a false identity.
Indeed, pornography use including production is prevalent among this type. Expert offenders have explicit awareness of the criminality and use extreme methods to prevent detection. Thirty-two percent of the cases were classified as the experts.
Contrary to the experts, cynical offenders know their victims or, if they meet online, they fabricate or present true identities. Regardless, the online relationship usually progresses into physical meetings. Cynical offenders have less knowledge of offending, fewer skills, fewer victims one typically and spend less time manipulating than the expert offenders.
In addition, their victim selection is based solely upon personal preference. Like expert offenders, sex is the goal and cynical offenders are not emotionally involved with the victim, are aware they are committing a sex crime and use pornography but the involvement is less extensive Tener et al.
The cynical type comprised 35 percent of the cases. Unlike expert and cynical offenders, attention-focused offenders meet victims online with the intention of developing a genuine relationship. As a result, they develop feelings for and become emotionally involved with a minor.
Contrary to the other types, the attention-focus offender does not use manipulation. The offender and the victim are mutually interested in a sexual relationship, which may or may not include an awareness of the victim's age actual and the criminality of the relationship. If the age is unknown and later revealed, attention-focused offenders often continue with the relationship, even if it remains online only. Pornography is seldom involved in these cases.
Twenty-one percent of cases were identified as attention-focused. The sex-focused type of offender has the lowest level of crime expertise. The online communication in these cases originates on sex-oriented internet sites to arrange a physical, sexual encounter Tener et al. Initially, the sex-focused type is not seeking sex with minors; instead, they are looking for immediate sexual interaction with adults.
As such, no grooming or manipulation is involved; there is no planning; they present true identities; and the relationship is intentionally brief. Frequently, the sex-focused type inadvertently meets a minor online posing as an adult; they continue the sexual encounter after the victim's age is revealed.
From the beginning of the encounter, both parties are interested in immediate sexual gratification without emotional attachment. Tener and colleagues conceptualize this relationship as exchanges or deals. Twelve percent of cases were categorized as sex-focused. All of the 75 cases were considered sex crimes and resulted in arrests. Differences among the types of offenders who procure victims online are useful for understanding the heterogeneity of internet sexual offending for need-based intervention Tener et al.
Over 25 years of research including victim and offender studies have shown that only 1—3 percent of offenders' self-admitted sexual offenses are identified in official records Abel et al.
These studies reported a "crossover effect" of sex offenders admitting to multiple victims and offenses atypical of criminal classification. Specifically, studies e. These findings are consistent among populations e. This section reviews the evidence of crossover offending, which challenges the validity of traditional sex offender typologies those that are based on a known victim type.
Crossover offending presents significant challenges to traditional sex offender typologies. Despite differences in location and supervision status of offenders, crossover offending has been reported in studies using guaranteed confidentiality, anonymous survey or treatment with polygraphy 4 Abel et al.
Using official record databases containing 1, incarcerated sexual offenders, Cann et al. Cann et al. Using polygraph testing combined with treatment, Heil, Ahlmeyer and Simons examined offense patterns of incarcerated and paroled sex offenders. This study found that the average number of victims reported in official records two for incarcerated offenders and one for paroled offenders increased to 18 and three, respectively, after polygraph testing.
The average number of offenses reported in official records increased from 12 for incarcerated offenders and three for paroled offenders to and 14 respectively, after polygraph testing. These studies have also demonstrated that male sexual offenders engage in crossover sexual offending at higher rates than reported in other studies e. Age crossover i. With respect to gender crossover i. The majority of offenders who assault males have also assaulted females 63—92 percent , but not the reverse 23—37 percent.
With respect to relationship crossover, studies have shown that 64—66 percent of incest offenders report sexually assaulting children who they were not related to Abel and Osborn, ; English et al. Recent studies have found similar rates of crossover referred to as polymorphism using official records coupled with treatment and assessment files. Using a combination of official record and treatment files, Stephens et al. In addition, polymorphic offenders had a greater number of sexual assault victims.
Although Stephens et al. The prevalence rate for sexual offenders who crossed over into at least one domain i. In this study, 48 percent of sexual offenders reported adult and child victims, 22 percent sexually offended against both genders and 26 percent crossed over into the relationship domain.
Crossover was not associated with sexual recidivism rate or frequency of offending. With respect to victim type stability over time, repeat offending was not stable in the age domain; offenders with victims 5 years old or younger show the least stability i.
In their examination of crossover offending, Kleban et al. Using archival records of incarcerated offenders, this study examined the prevalence of crossover offending from three victim categories across three domains age, gender and relationship.
Kleban et al. Of those with multiple victims at index crime, 13 percent sexually assaulted both genders; 14 percent had a conviction that included a combination of child, adult and adolescent victims; 13 percent had assaulted victims from multiple relationship categories. Of the repeated offenders, 21 percent offended against victims of both genders; 40 percent victimized a combination of adults, adolescents and children; and 48 percent assaulted victims from multiple relationships.
These findings illustrate the importance of a comprehensive history for treatment and management decisions. Among female sexual offenders, Heil, Simons and Burton reported similar findings with respect to offense patterns. Using polygraph testing, Simons and colleagues examined the offense patterns of incarcerated female sex offenders and female sex offenders who had been released in the community.
The sample consisted of 74 incarcerated adult female sexual offenders and 22 female sexual offenders in the community who were under supervision at the Colorado Department of Corrections.
All participants received cognitive-behavioral treatment. Offense patterns disclosed during treatment with polygraph testing revealed similar findings to those of male offenders.
Simons and colleagues demonstrated that the average number of victims — reported in official records as one for both incarcerated offenders and offenders in the community — increased to four and three, respectively, after polygraph testing.
The average number of offenses increased from 33 for incarcerated offenders and five for offenders in the community to 44 and 13, respectively.
After polygraph testing, 21 percent of incarcerated females and 11 percent of female offenders in the community reported age crossover i. Both incarcerated offenders 30 percent and those in the community 21 percent disclosed relationship crossover i. This study indicates that female sexual offense patterns may be less extensive than those of male sexual offenders. Nonetheless, this research indicates that female offenders report poor sexual boundaries regarding illegal behaviors and they also disclose legal, but sexually problematic, behaviors.
Based on polygraph testing, these co-offenses were seldom coercive and the majority of women sexually assaulted alone either before or after the co-offense. A recent meta-analysis examined the prevalence of child sexual abuse among internet offenders. Seto, Hanson and Babchishin reviewed 24 studies and found that In this meta-analysis, only one study used polygraph testing to verify the self-report.
Bourke and Hernandez demonstrated significant increases in the number of previously undisclosed victims, offenses and paraphilic interests when self-report is corroborated through polygraph examination. Using polygraph testing, these researchers examined the prevalence of hands-on sexual offending among internet child pornography offenders. However, additional research is needed in this area due to the limitations of this study. The sample consisted of volunteers and the majority reported hands-on offenses prior to internet pornography use.
Taken together, crossover findings suggest that traditional typologies based on victim type may not be useful to allocate resources, evaluate risk or devise individualized treatment interventions.
Although crossover findings have been reported in numerous studies using different methodologies, some suggest that the prevalence of age crossover or multiple paraphilias is overstated, particularly in studies that use polygraph testing. Kokish, Levenson and Blasingame report that 5 percent of individuals stated that they provided false admissions in response to a deceptive result on a polygraph exam.
Accurate self-reporting of victim and offense information remains critical for risk assessment. Indeed, crossover research suggests legislative decisions based upon index crime may underestimate an offender's risk level Kleban et al.
However, the relationship between crossover offending and recidivism are not conclusive. In this study, crossover offenders violently recidivated comparably to offenders who assault adults exclusively. Findings from a study conducted by Stephens et al. According to Gannon, Beech and Ward , when offense crossover is disclosed, assigned risk level increases because child sexual abuse of males i.
Likewise, Levenson, Becker and Morin emphasize the importance of understanding crossover offending patterns to enhance safety planning for the offenders and the community. To address the issue of heterogeneity and crossover offending with respect to offender typologies, researchers e. The interaction of biological and social learning factors influences the development of sexual offending. Recent models of the sexual offense process have been devised to include etiological theories of sexual offending and treatment-relevant factors.
They are based on clusters of behaviors and psychological processes to account for the heterogeneity of offending. These models take into account problematic behaviors, distorted thought processes and offense histories.
This section reviews models that may ultimately replace traditional typologies to inform treatment and management of sexual offenders. Researchers explain that genetic factors may predispose an individual to pursue a specific human need e.
Negative developmental experiences figure prominently in many models of sexual offending behavior. Yet, not all sexual offenders report being sexually victimized during childhood. Research findings indicate that there may not be only one type of abuse that serves as a developmental risk factor for later sexual offending.
Instead, multiple types of abusive experiences, or a pathological family environment, may precede offending behaviors Dube et al. Researchers have also suggested that different types of maltreatment may be associated with different types of sexual offending behaviors e. This section reviews the current research findings that compare the developmental risk factors of various offender characteristics.
Researchers have found that child sexual abusers exhibited heightened sexuality in childhood. Researchers contend that physical abuse, parental violence and emotional abuse result in externalizing behaviors only when they are considered in combination Lee et al. As an illustration, Beauregard, Lussier and Proulx found that physical and verbal abuse during childhood led to antisocial behavior and callous personality traits, both of which led to aggressive sexual fantasies.
Likewise, Salter and colleagues indicate that the combination of physical violence, domestic violence, emotional abuse and neglect predicted subsequent sexual offending. In a prospective study of childhood abuse histories, Widom and Massey reported individuals who experienced physical abuse and neglect but not sexual abuse were at significantly increased risk for arrest for sexual offenses in comparison to those who did not experience abuse. Researchers e. These individuals often react to confusing situations with overt aggression.
In studies that examined the developmental risk factors of crossover offenders or indiscriminate offenders e. Indiscriminate offenders, also known as mixed offenders, report sexually abusing both adults and children equivalently. Similar to child sexual abusers i.
A great majority of indiscriminate offenders 81 percent disclosed engaging in bestiality during childhood in comparison to fewer child sexual abusers 59 percent and rapists 30 percent. With respect to childhood violence, both indiscriminate offenders and rapists described childhood experiences consistent with physical and emotional abuse.
Of a subsample of 42 female sexual offenders, Simons and colleagues reported that the majority 81 percent had been sexually abused by multiple perpetrators at a young age with high frequency. Female offenders masturbated later than male offenders i. Similar to male offenders, females report engaging in bestiality during adolescence, but the prevalence rates for females are significantly lower than for child sexual abusers and indiscriminate offenders of both genders.
Similar to indiscriminate offenders, Simons and colleagues also found that the majority of female sexual offenders reported physical abuse, emotional abuse and witnessing of domestic violence. Similar findings were reported among 47 female sexual offenders assessed on a childhood experiences measure by Levenson, Willis and Prescott Female sexual offenders experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences consisting of sexual abuse, neglect, verbal abuse and substance abuse in the home, which was associated with having younger victims.
These findings emphasize the importance of trauma-informed care with female sexual offenders. In addition to childhood abuse, the majority of sexual offenders 93 percent exhibited insecure attachment Marsa et al.
Poor parental bonding enhances the effects of child maltreatment and may contribute to sexual offending by creating vulnerability, a lack of empathy and intimacy deficits. Recently, attachment style has been associated with different types of offending. Maniglio summarized the influence of attachment on sexual offending behavior. A sexual offender's insecure attachment style during childhood affects the development of social skills and self-confidence, which in turn, prevents initiation or maintenance of intimate relationships during adulthood.
Instead, sexual offenders may use deviant sexual fantasies as a means to achieve intimacy, power and control, absent of reality. Maniglio explains deviant fantasy as a means to achieve intimacy or autonomy creates a disposition to sexually offend.
Likewise, in their recent meta-analysis comparing intrafamilial to extrafamilial offenders, Seto et al. This finding confirms family dysfunction as an important etiological factor in sexual offending. Taken together, these findings support Marshall and Barbaree's integrated theory of sexual offending, which postulates that individuals who experienced child maltreatment are likely to exhibit distorted internal working models of relationships, which result in poor social skills and emotional self-regulation.
The lack of social skills, especially during adolescence, is likely to result in rejection by others, which in turn will decrease self-esteem, increase anger and produce cognitive distortions about peers and relationships. Negative emotions combined with cognitive distortions may increase the intensity of sexual desire and deviant sexual fantasies e. Masturbation to these fantasies may serve as a coping mechanism from stress, as a means to exert control, and ultimately, as a behavioral rehearsal to sexual offending.
These developmental factors interact with disinhibiting factors e. The emotional and psychological reinforcement of the behavior may be approach oriented i.
The actual sexual offense combined with cognitive distortions serves to maintain sexual offending behaviors. Consistent with Marshall and Barbaree's integrated theory of sexual offending, bestiality and masturbation to abuse experiences contribute to the development of deviant sexual interest and frequent masturbation suggests problems with emotional self-regulation. Frequent masturbation coupled with frequent pornography use increases the likelihood of sexual compulsivity.
Likewise, insecure attachments suggest intimacy deficits, empathy deficits, antisocial lifestyle and social difficulties. Violence in the home has been shown to be predictive of antisocial lifestyle, hostile attitudes toward women, emotional callousness and hostile masculinity Malamuth et al.
In addition to difficulties with self-regulation, a heightened sexual childhood may lead to the development of child sexual abuse-supportive beliefs e. As summarized by Craissati and Beech , developmental experiences sexual and violent experiences and insecure attachment predict dynamic risk that, when combined with static markers e. The self-regulation model SRM summarizes the offense process by examining situational precipitants e.
SRM contends that individuals are goal-directed as sexual abusers and offend to achieve a desired state — either to satisfy or to avoid offending. This model proposes that four pathways lead to sexual offending. Two pathways characterize offenders who attempt to avoid offending avoidance oriented but do not have adequate strategies i.
The two remaining pathways characterize individuals who seek to achieve goals associated with sexual offending approach oriented and experience positive feelings as a result. These approach-oriented individuals vary with respect to self-regulation; some of them exhibit deficient self-regulation i. Thus, the assessment of SRM offense pathways depends on whether the offender attempted to avoid indirect or to engage direct in the sexual offense, the ability to self-regulate underregulation, misregulation, effective regulation and the degree of awareness associated with the sexual offense implicit or explicit.
The avoidant-passive pathway consists of an offender who attempts to prevent offending indirect route but does not have the ability or awareness to prevent the offense underregulation, implicit awareness.
Similarly, the avoidant-active pathway is characterized by the desire to avoid offending indirect , but the offender uses counterproductive strategies to control deviant thoughts and fantasies misregulation, explicit awareness.
In contrast, the approach-automatic pathway is characterized by the impulsive desire to sexually offend and assault direct route. Indeed, approach-automatic pathway offenders fail to control their behavior as they respond to situational cues on the basis of well-entrenched cognitive-behavioral scripts that support sexual offending. Individuals on the approach-explicit pathway desire to sexually offend direct , but they carefully plan their offenses effective regulation, explicit.
Individuals on the approach pathways experience positive emotional states from offending; cognitive dissonance is absent.
These offenders do not experience an internal conflict after the offense because they achieved their goal to sexually offend. Research on SRM supports the validity of the model and its use in classification and treatment.
Specifically, SRM pathways have been shown to differentiate offense characteristics and static and dynamic risk. Their goal is to offend and they carefully plan their offenses by establishing relationships with their victims. The specialist vs. According to this model, sexual offenders may be characterized as specialists who commit sexual crimes persistently or as generalists who do not restrict themselves to one type of crime; they commit different crimes over time Lussier, One of the assumptions of the traditional explanatory models of sex offending i.
Hanson concluded that, in addition to sexual deviance, variables such as low self-control, criminal lifestyle, impulsivity and opportunity are important factors associated with sexual offending. Lussier, Proulx and LeBlanc examined whether sexual offending among convicted sexual offenders could be explained by a generalist theory of crime using structural equation modeling.
They reported differences among child sexual abusers and rapists and concluded that, similar to traditional typologies, the offense patterns of rapists were versatile and that rapists displayed extensive antisocial tendencies. Harris, Mazerolle and Knight examined male sexual offenders to compare these models of sexual offending. The researchers found that the majority of sexual offenders followed the generalist model. Rapists and child sexual abusers exhibited extensive criminal histories, substance abuse issues, antisocial tendencies and psychosis.
In addition, few rapists specialized in sexual crimes. As Lussier, Proulx and LeBlanc found, the specialist model was evident in child sexual abusers. Francis, Harris, Wallace, Knight and Soothill examined the life course of sexual offenders in civil commitment treatment between and Specifically, this study investigated distinct trajectories of offending, comparing generalist crime to specialist crime.
Differences were found with respect to criminal onset, length of criminal career, age of peak offending and time of entry into treatment. Overall, late onset was associated with child sexual abuse and early onset younger was associated with rape. Likewise, findings indicated sexual offending began later than nonsexual offending and three out of four groups exhibited a decrease in frequency with age.
Two groups low-rate and high-rate limited offended at an earlier age than the other groups low-rate persistent and high-rate persistent. Low-rate persistent offenders 56 percent of the sample began offending during late teens and offended less than once per year with the highest point in their 30s. This group was equally as likely to commit rape as child sexual abuse. This trajectory was consistent with the generalist pattern and the decline in offending occurred during their 50s.
The third group or high-rate accelerators 12 percent began offending during their 20s and their offending increased until mids; this group consisted primarily of child sexual abusers. The fourth group was classified as late onset accelerators 8 percent. They began sexual offending during their late 20s and the offending behaviors increased to its peak during their mids.
The majority of these offenders sexually assaulted relatives i. Taken together, findings indicate there are distinct trajectories of offending based upon onset, frequency and persistence. Future research in this area is needed to further identify factors that characterize specialist offenders from generalist offenders. Advances in developmental risk factors and offense pathways can assist with risk and need evaluation, but additional research is needed to develop models of sexual deviance.
The prevention of sexual violence requires a balance of community safety with effective resource allocation. Current research emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to sex offender typologies, through the assessment of criminogenic needs dynamic risk and offense patterns, not based upon the type of victim exclusively Martinez-Catena et al.
Nonetheless, through a comprehensive understanding of treatment needs and subsequent effective intervention, an offender can attend to the process, learn skills and alternative strategies to sexual violence and, ultimately, strive to live a healthy lifestyle without offending. Axis I includes fixation, or the degree of pedophilic interest and the degree of social competence.
MTC: R3 includes nine subtypes that differentiate rapists by motivation, impulsivity, criminality and social competence. Rapists are classified as opportunistic with high or low social competence , pervasively angry, sadistic overt or muted , sexual nonsadistic also with high or low social competence and vindictive with high or low social competence.
Studies have failed to classify rapists according to these nine subtypes without refinement Barbaree et al. With respect to sexual recidivism, the total sample consisted of 23, sexual offenders including 1, rapists and 9, child sexual abusers whose recidivism rates were compared.
The recidivism rate for rapists was significantly higher Abel, G. Multiple paraphilic diagnoses among sex offenders. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 16 , — Identifying dangerous child molesters. Stewart Ed. New York: Plenum Press. The paraphilias: The extent and nature of sexually deviant and criminal behavior.
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Chapter 3: Sex Offender Typologies | Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative
The phenomenon of juvenile female sexual offending was explored through the study of 67 youths who had been referred for either community-based or residential treatment following a documented history of sexual perpetration. These youths were compared to a group of 70 juvenile male sexual offenders across three parameters: developmental and psychiatric characteristics, history of maltreatment, and sexual perpetration characteristics. The majority of these juvenile female sexual offenders demonstrated repetitive patterns of sexual offending with multiple victims, suggesting psychosexual disturbances equivalent in severity to the comparison group of males.
The authors discuss typological impressions of this clinical population and their special treatment needs. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide.
Juvenile female sexual offenders: Clinical characteristics and treatment issues. Research and Clinical Articles. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Allen, C. Women and men who sexually abuse children: A comparative analysis. Google Scholar. Faller, K. Women who sexually abuse children. Violence and Victims, 2 , — PubMed Google Scholar.
Fehrenbach, P. Characteristics of female adolescent sexual offenders. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 58 , — Finkelhor, D. Child sexual abuse: New theory and research. New York: Free Press.
Hunter, J. Psychosexual, attitudinal, and developmental characteristics of juvenile female sexual perpetrators in a residential treatment setting. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2 , — CrossRef Google Scholar. The relationship between phallometrically measured deviant sexual arousal and clinical characteristics in juvenile sexual offenders.
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