The majority are male, although a small percentage is female. Sexual offenders are not “dirty old men” or strangers lurking in alleys. More often, they are known and trusted by the children they victimize. They may be members of the family, such as parents, siblings, cousins, or non-relatives, including family friends, neighbors, babysitters, or older peers. There’s no clear-cut profile of a sex offender. Some offenders were sexually abused as children, but others have no such history. Some are unable to function sexually with adult partners and so prey on children, while others also have sexual relations with adults.

Child sexual abuse is so hard for most people to comprehend that we want to believe it only happens when an offender is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but that’s not usually the case. Very frequently, abusers are repeat offenders and a significant percent are adolescents.

Appears in: Frequency and Risk