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Adult Sex Offender Typologies

NCJ Number
Dominique A. Simons
Date Published
July 2015
8 pages
This overview of adult sex offender typologies reviews those most often used and empirically tested for offenders who have sexually abused children, those who commit rape, women who commit sexual offenses, and those who use the Internet to commit various types of sexual offenses.
In addition, the brief reviews recently developed models of sexual offense processes, which include etiological theories of sexual offending and factors relevant to treatment. The brief concludes that overall, traditional typologies of sexual offending have had significant problems that include inadequate definitions and inconsistent research findings. Also, most of the typologies developed to date have failed to address treatment issues and predict recidivism. More recently, comprehensive descriptions of the psychological processes, developmental histories, and offense patterns of sexual deviance have been developed. Although they are not described as typologies, they have been linked to various trajectories of offending, and they can identify criminogenic needs that are predictive of sexual recidivism. Developmental factors have proven to be predictive of high-risk sexual behaviors, treatment failure, and dynamic risk. Recent advances in knowledge of developmental risk factors and offense pathways can assist with risk and need evaluation; however, additional research is needed for the development of more extensive models that explain sexual deviance. 65 references