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Who Are We Concerned About? 

People who sexually abuse children are not a heterogenous group: in general studies have found that variables such as IQ,age,ethnicity, education and psychiatric status of offender populations do not vary significantly from rates in the general population. 
However, the patterns of behaviour, characteristics of the victim and the nature of the abuse can tell us a lot about the individual, their motivations, risk of re-offending and suitability for treatment. 
Freund et al (1984) defined paedophilia as a long term interest in children with a typical body shape of an under 11 year old 
Levin and Strava (1987) defined paedophilic behaviour as any sexual contact, forced or non forced, between an adult and a minor 
Whilst pure paedophiles have a sexual focus on children other offenders may well view children as pseudo-adults 
The current Clinical definition is a person that for 6 months or longer has been:  
A) Experiencing sexual thoughts feelings or urges in relation to pre-pubescent children (generally under the age of 13). 
B) Has acted on these thoughts feeling or urges or the thoughts feelings and urges cause the person Hebophili. 
C) The person is over the age of 16 and at least 5 years older than the child in criteria A. 

 Infantophilia refers to sexual thoughts, feelings and urges relating to babies.  

 Hebophilia refers to sexual thoughts feelings and urges relating to post pubescent children that are under the age of consent. 

Developmentally sexually fixated on children rather than adults. 
May have had sexual contact with adults but this tends to be coincidental rather than intentional. 
Matured in their sexuality but demonstrate a return to an earlier level of psychosexual development. 
Psychosexual history shows a primary interest in peer age or adults rather than children. 
Sexual interest in children reflects a “reversal” to a more child-like sexuality. 

Activity: Watch the Video Case Study "Eddy" 

Video Case Study: Questions 

Does Eddy meet the clinical criteria for Paedophilia? 
Yes: Since his mid-twenties has has been experiencing sexual thoughts feelings or urges in relation to pre-pubescent children. 

Is Eddy a child sexual abuser? 

No: Eddy has not, as far as we are aware and by his self report, acted upon his thoughts, feelings and urges. The Police National Computer check showed that he had no cautions, convictions, warnings or reprimands and so there is no evidence to suggest that he has not been truthful. 

In your opinion, Is Eddy a Fixated or Regressed Paedophile 

Although attracted to very young children, his sexual attraction is not exclusive; he is also attracted to adult females. If he were in a stable adult intimate relationship he would probably be less vulnerable to his thoughts, feelings and urges. If lonely or experienceing relationship difficulties he may be more vulnerable to those thoughts, feelings and urges. It seems likely that the "Regressed Paedophile" typology accounts better for Eddy's prblems thanthe "Fixated Paedophile" typology based upon the limited evidence that is available in this vignette. 

Juvenile Perpetrators 

This course has a module dedicated to Young People with Sexually Harmful Behaviour but you can access  
The Knowledge Bank  

Female Perpetrators 

Within the male sexual offending literature, typological approaches have become increasing more sophisticated and 
empirically validated over the past two decades (Vandiver and Kercher, 2004). For example, early male sex offender taxonomies sub divided male sexual offenders along hypothesized motivational factors (i.e., core cognitive and behavioral features; Groth,1979; Groth, Burgess, and Holstrom, 1977; Seghorn and Cohen, 1980). However, these early taxonomies are now generally recognized to be limited in their clinical usefulness due to poor empirical validity and their apparent simplicity and inability to capture heterogeneity (see Knight, Warren, Reboussin, and Soley, 1998). As a result of this dissatisfaction, researchers in recent years have developed theoretically informed typologies of both rape (Knight, 1999; Knight and Cerce, 1999; Knight and Guay, 2006) and male child sexual offending (Bickley and Beech, 2001, 2002; Ward and Hudson, 1998) that not only attempt to capture offender heterogeneity but have also been the recipient of substantial empirical evaluation. There has however been a derth of similar research relating to female perpetrators of sexual violence and child sexual abuse. (Source: Theresa A. Gannon⁎, Mariamne R. Rose 2008) 
Table of Female Perpetrator Typologies 


Previous Offence History: 
sexual violence, escalation of sexual violence 
Use of physical coercion, threats, use of weapons 
Use of Psychological coercion e.g. grooming behaviour 
Non-sexual violence 
Non-sexual criminality 
Early age at first incident 
Problems associated with child abuse 
Learning disability, history of psychiatric illness (associated with abusive behaviour), ASD, PD 


Attitudes that condone or support sexual violence 
Limited sexual knowledge / sexual pre-occupation 
Extreme denial or minimisation 
Victim blaming 
Negative self image 
Limited positive support network 
Unstructured daytime activities /work 
Active symptoms of mental illness 
Violent or suicidal ideation 
Poor problem solving skills 
Limited interpersonal skills 
Low self esteem 
Lack of empathy /Lack of perspective taking 
Emotional loneliness 
Emotional congruence with children 
Cognitive distortions about children /women 


Supervision failure 
Victim accessing behaviour 
Loss of personal support systems 
Association with anti-social peers 
Treatment failure or drop out 
Use of drugs or alcohol 
Active symptoms of major mental illness 
Mental Health 
Offense supportive cognitions and empathy deficits 
Deviant Sexual Interest 
Intimacy and social skills decits 
Dependency (i.e. coercion from signicant males) 
Emotional self-management 


1. Make a note of the assumptions that are made regarding female perptrated child sexual abuse that you are aware of and maybe have made yourself  
2. Why do you think it is difficult for professionals to recognise female perptrated abuse? 
3. What issues might be anticipated for children who have been sexually abused by females? 

Now Watch this report and discussion from RTE News 

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