A recent series of court cases in Australia in which teachers have been convicted of sexual crimes against children and adolescents has brought to attention the fact that females are capable of, and do commit, such crimes. However, the nature of the crimes does not reflect the range of sexually abusive behaviours females may perpetrate, nor the kinds of women who may engage in such behaviour. We consider definitional problems in identifying female-perpetrated sexual abuse, and note that apart from one attempt to describe the range of sexual abuse perpetrated by mothers, there is little to guide researchers or clinicians in relation to female perpetrated offences more generally. We then consider approaches to categorising female sex offenders, and conclude that, although there a several such approaches that overlap in some ways, a multidimensional approach that combines aspects of each taxonomy may be more useful.
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology