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Strategies Adopted by Sexual Offenders To Involve Children in Sexual Activity (From Situational Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, P 251-270, 2006, Richard Wortley and Stephen Smallbone, eds. -- See NCJ-215297)

NCJ Number
Benoit Leclerc; Julie Carpentier; Jean Proulx Ph.D.
Date Published
20 pages
This study determined whether child molesters who used a persuasive strategy to involve their child victims in sexual activity differed from those offenders who used aggression and force against their victims.
The findings suggest prevention tactics that recognize the importance of structuring children's interaction with adults outside the family, rather than fostering informal or private contacts. The study found that offenders who used persuasion to involve their child victims in sexual activity were more likely to have a prior history of such offending, which suggests that this tactic has worked for them in the past and reduced the risk that their offense would be detected. In many cases, the same victim had been abused repeatedly. In some cases, keeping the victims silent about the abuse involved subtle, manipulative threats such as the withdrawal of love and abandonment. The study also found that offenders who abused older children were more likely to use persuasive rather than forceful tactics. This may mean that older victims, although initially resistant to sexual activity with the offender, may be more responsive to being treated as a sexual partner than are younger children. A third finding was that offenders who acted under the strong influence of deviant sexual fantasies were more likely to use persuasive tactics with their victims. Such offenders tended to have avoidant and dependent personalities, which not only explained their attraction to nonthreatening children, but also explained their reluctance to behave aggressively. The study sample consisted of 226 adult males who had been convicted of a sexual offense against a child 13 years old or younger. Data were obtained from a 6-week assessment of risk level and treatment needs when admitted for incarceration in Canada between 1995 and 2000. 2 tables and 28 references