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Female Sexual Offenders: Five Italian Case Studies

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 17 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2012 Pages: 180-187
Ignazio Grattagliano; Jessica N. Owens; Robert J. Morton; Carlo P. Campobasso; Felice Carabellese; Roberto Catanesi
Date Published
June 2012
8 pages
This article discusses the cases of five Italian women convicted of sexually abusing their children.
Women who sexually abuse children are rare and case histories are scarce; even less is known about sexually abusive mothers. Due to the number of cases in which women sexually abuse minors, more in-depth studies on this subject are needed. This article examines the clinical files of five women who are currently serving time in Italian prisons for the sexual abuse of children. Records of the abuse cases and other records were utilized. The cases involved varying degrees of participation in the abuse by the mothers, and ranged from active sexual engagement to allowing others to abuse their children. Female perpetrators are likely to be experiencing problems in many areas of their life, including relationship dysfunction and psychological impairment. In three cases women revealed an antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), while in two cases a borderline personality disorder (BPD) was diagnosed according with DSM-IV criteria. Possible motivations for women who molest their children are explored and discussed. The current review shows that most female sex offenders fall into several suggested typology models. Therefore, the existing typologies used to classify female child sex offenders may be insufficient, and more comprehensive exploration of this offender population is needed. (Published Abstract)