CHARACTERISTICS OF FEMALE SEX OFFENDERS

Female sex offenders are typically young, in their 20s or 30s, and White. They often report a history of sexual victimization and substance abuse. Researchers have noted that although many female sex offenders report substance use, drugs and alcohol were not commonly used immediately prior/during the commission of their sex crime (Johansson-Love & Fremouw, 2009). Thus, women likely do not offend because of disinhibition (West, Friedman, & Kim, 2011). Their sex crimes have been described as "not due to impulsivity/poor response inhibition, cognitive rigidity or attention validity. Rather, female sex offending is planned, intentional and goal directed" (Pflugradt & Allen, 2010, p. 447). Although mental illness is evident in many female sex offender studies, many of the samples come from mental health clinics. Thus, mental illness may be reported at higher levels in these studies than occurs in the general population (Vandiver, 2006b).

Approximately half of female sex offenders commit sex crimes with a cooffender. Their co-offender is often a romantic partner. When women act in concert with another person, there are typically multiple victims, both male and female. The relationship between the female offender and her partner is usually an abusive one (Vandiver, 2006a).

 
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