Pritchard, Colin and Bagley, Christopher
Multi-criminal and violent groups among child sex offenders: An heuristic typology in a 2-year cohort of 374 men in two English counties
Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, (4), . (doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(00)00108-3).
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To determine the lifetime criminality of men charged with a sexual offence against a child and to identify any heuristic typologies.
The police files of a 2-year cohort of 462 men charged with a sexual offence against a minor (<17) in two English counties were analyzed; 374 were convicted. The patterns of their convictions produced a typology based upon judicially substantiated parameters.
Half the guilty men had prior convictions for non-sexual crimes, including 24% with convictions for violent offences. Three heuristic groups emerged: ''Sex-Only'' offenders (S.O., n = 186); ''Sex And Other'' offenders (S.A.O., n = 97); and ''Sex and Violent'' offenders (S.V., n = 91), averaging three sex convictions each. However, the S.A.O. and S.V. men had more non-sexual than sex convictions, averaging 5.1 versus 10.5, justifying the designation of ''multi-criminal'' child sex abusers. However, the patterns of these men's sexual offending did not differ, except that the S.O. men's victims were significantly more often intra-family, 36%, 31%, and 13%, respectively; indicating that the majority of these men's victims were extra-familial (71%). Significantly, 19% of the convicted men had at least one ''not guilty'' verdict for a sex charge, as opposed to 4% for non-sexual crimes.
While the S.O. group appear to consist of traditional types of fixated and regressed offenders, in men charged with offences, they are atypical of most sex abusers since their victims are mainly extra-familial. These ''multi-criminal'' men present particular challenges for custodial and therapeutic settings, and the potential dangerousness of these offenders should not be underestimated.
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