Nav: Home

The perpetrator in one-quarter of child sexual abuse cases is a stranger

October 22, 2012

Child sexual abuse is committed by strangers more than one-quarter of the time. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden reviewed the records of 196 men who had been convicted of child sexual abuse in Western Sweden. The study also found that only 8% of the perpetrators had been referred to a major forensic investigation.

The typical victim is a girl age 15 or younger who has been abused by a relative or acquaintance. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy reviewed the records of 196 people who had been convicted of child sexual abuse in Västra Götaland County in Western Sweden.

Anita Carlstedt and her team studied the relationship between the perpetrator and victim in each case. In order to generate sociodemographic, offender characteristic and mental disease data, the researchers also reviewed the records of 185 people who had been examined by a forensic psychiatrist after being convicted of child sexual abuse during the same period.

The studies found that the perpetrator in 27 percent of the cases was a stranger to the child.

"The majority of these cases did not involve physical contact," says Anita Carlstedt. "Among the most common offenses were indecent exposure, masturbation and sexual harassment."

Other results shows that:
  • Eighty-five percent of the victims were girls, 12 percent boys and 3 percent girls and boys at the same time
  • Most of the offenses were violent, penetration being the most frequent act
  • Only 8 percent of the perpetrators were examined by a forensic psychiatrist before or during the trial
  • The sentences were generally mild
  • Perpetrators born abroad received stiffer sentences for the same offenses
  • Between 10 and 14 percent of perpetrators went on to become recidivists
"One key conclusion is that the risk of recidivism is generally low," says Anita Carlstedt. "But the risk was somewhat higher when the perpetrator was not a relative or acquaintance of the child."

The reason for the study is that previous research on child sexual abuse has suffered from major defects, primarily because so many cases go unreported and it is often difficult to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The purpose of the thesis was to contribute to our knowledge about sex offenders, the nature of the offenses they commit and the types of sentences they receive.

"Learning more about sex offenders is vitally important if we are to treat them in a constructive manner and improve the results of forensic psychiatrists," says Anita Carlstedt.
-end-
Link to thesis: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/29705

Contact:

Anita Carlstedt, Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Phone: +46 31 343 87 32
anita.carlstedt @neuro.gu.se

University of Gothenburg

Related Anita Carlstedt Articles:

Computer kidney could provide safer tests for new medications
A University of Waterloo researcher has spearheaded the development of the first computational model of the human kidney.
Discovery of the first common genetic risk factors for ADHD
A global team of researchers has found the first common genetic risk factors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a complex condition affecting around one in 20 children.
Your severe eczema may best be treated by allergy shots
A medically-challenging case found that allergy shots provided significant benefits to the eczema symptoms suffered by a 48-year-old man.
Dental research shows that smoking weakens immune systems
Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found that smoking weakens the ability for pulp in teeth to fight illness and disease.
UK urgently needs a joined up approach to recruitment of international doctors
The UK urgently needs a joined up and strategic approach to the recruitment of international health professionals, argue experts in The BMJ today.
'AGameOfClones': Identification of transgenic organisms
Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have developed a concept called 'AGameOfClones,' which allows to distinguish easily whether transgenic organisms carry an inserted foreign gene on one or on both chromosomes.
Researchers discover efficient and sustainable way to filter salt and metal ions from water
With two billion people worldwide lacking access to clean and safe drinking water, joint research by Monash University, CSIRO and the University of Texas at Austin published today in Sciences Advances may offer a breakthrough new solution.
Scientists identify breast cancer patients who may develop incurable secondary cancers
Scientists from King's College London, funded by Breast Cancer Now, believe they have found a way to identify lymph-node positive breast cancer patients who are most likely to develop incurable secondary tumors (metastases) and those who are less at risk.
Zika-related nerve damage caused by immune response to the virus
The immune system's response to the Zika virus, rather than the virus itself, may be responsible for nerve-related complications of infection, according to a Yale study.
People with psychotic-like experiences spend less time in healthy brain states
A new study looks at the brain dynamics of healthy people with psychotic symptoms
More Anita Carlstedt News and Anita Carlstedt Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.