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Culture of Denial: Exploring Professional Perspectives on Female Sex Offending

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology Volume: 43 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2001 Pages: 303-329
Myriam S. Denov
Julian Roberts
Date Published
July 2001
27 pages
This study revealed professional perspectives on female sexual offending to determine how two professional groups, police officers and psychiatrists, portrayed and explained cases involving a female sex offender and the implications of their perspectives for the prevalence rates in relation to female sex offending.
This study revealed the way in which female sex offending was viewed, assessed, and understood from the framework of traditional sexual scripts and through gendered lens. The study traced the ways in which a sample of Canadian police officers and psychiatrists understood and portrayed sexual abuse by female perpetrators. Data were derived from semi-structured interviews with police officers and psychiatrists. In the case of police officers, direct observation and an analysis of police reports. The female sex offender’s gender and femininity became central to the meaning of the offense and could not be conceptualized without the gendered context. For police officers and psychiatrists, it appeared to mean something different to be sexually abused by a female, as it was judged to be harmless and benign. With the meaning of abuse differing, the responses also differed. The responses reflected a culture of denial. References