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Sexual offenses against children: Patterns and motives

Laurence Miller

Aggression and Violent Behavior.
Volume 18, Issue 5, September–October 2013, Pages 506–519

Abstract

Children are the quintessential innocent victims; therefore, special opprobrium is reserved for offenders who sexually abuse them. This article describes the more prominent typologies of pedophilic sex offenders and discusses the role of child pornography in child sexual abuse of actual children. It next examines the often overlooked population of women offenders who sexually abuse children. Attention then turns to the sexual abuse of children in child care settings and by members of the clergy; practical recommendations are provided for reducing the risk of this kind of institutional child sexual abuse. Theoretical conceptualizations of child sexual abuse are considered, in the three main categories of cognitive–psychodynamic theories, neuropsychological conceptualizations, and contributions from the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Finally, recommendations are made for developing a way of handling sex offenders, including sexual offenders against children, that balances the fair administration of justice with society's obligation to protect vulnerable potential victims.

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