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Female perpetrators of sexual abuse of minors: What are the consequences for the victims?

Christos Tsopelas, Spyridoula Tsetsou, Petros Ntounas & Athanassios Douzenis

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Volume 35, Issue 4, July–August 2012, Pages 305–310




The definition of sexual abuse changes according to the moral values and culture of each era. In the past the perpetrators of sexual abuse were perceived to be exclusively male. However, contemporary literature is placing increasing emphasis on the role of female sexual abusers. The aim of the current literature review is to focus on the consequences of sexual abuse in minors when the perpetrator is female.



A literature search of the main databases for studies was conducted. Restriction was placed on European and North American literature due to perceived culture differences.



Victims of sexual abuse by female perpetrators are usually friends or relatives of the abuser and find themselves sometimes under persuasion and psychological coercion to participate in sexual acts. The percentage of male victims is growing. There are severe and longstanding psychological consequences for the victims which are further analyzed.



Contemporary studies offer limited information about this issue and the consequences it has on the victims. The majority of such cases are not reported. Sometimes sexual abuse by female perpetrators is considered more acceptable than sexual abuse by males. Psychological interventions could be a powerful tool in reduction of female sexual abuse and its consequences on the victims.



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