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Pedophilic sexual interests and psychopathy in child sexual abusers working with children

Daniel Turner, Martin Rettenberger, Lena Lohmann, Reinhard Eher & Peer Briken
Child Abuse & Neglect
Available online 3 September 2013

Abstract

Research has identified stable and dynamic characteristics in child sexual abusers working with children (CSA-W) that may distinguish them from other child sexual abusers (CSA). However, in previous research CSA-W have usually been included in the group of extra-familial CSA (CSA-E). Two hundred and forty-eight forensic-sexological reports about CSA conducted by the Federal Evaluation Centre for Violent and Sexual Offenders in the Austrian Prison System were evaluated retrospectively. One hundred and nineteen intra-familial CSA (CSA-I), 66 CSA-E, and 38 CSA-W were compared with regard to static risk factors, indicators of psychopathy, and pedophilic sexual interests. CSA-E had the highest risk of recidivism as measured by the Static-99 total score, followed by CSA-W. Furthermore, CSA-E had more previous convictions than CSA-W. Both CSA-E and CSA-I had higher total scores on the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised than CSA-W. CSA-W had the highest prevalence of pedophilia diagnoses according to DSM-IV-TR criteria, as well as the highest rate of pedophilia with an orientation toward male children, and the highest frequency of male victims. CSA-W also had the highest total scores in the Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interests. CSA-W seem to constitute a group with particular risk factors and criminogenic needs, that is, they show more indicators of pedophilic sexual interests but less general antisociality and psychopathy, and would thus seem to be distinguishable from other CSA. Future research should focus in particular on evaluating differences in the grooming strategies used by CSA-W to commit and disclose child sexual abuse, as well as on the resources of this particular offender group.

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