Sex Offender Typologies – Child Sexual Abusers And Internet offenders

Sexual violence is among the serious social problems with devastating consequences. Nevertheless, inadequate resources within the criminal justice system continues to delay the battle against this act. Making a given society safe includes both the resources and a comprehensive understanding of accurate offense patterns and risk. With all these available, it will be possible to devise offense typologies which at the end will inform decisions regarding investigation, sentencing and supervision too.

Majority of the theories regarding sexual deviance assumes that sexual offenders specialize in types of victims and offenses (Simon, 1997). With this, researchers have developed specific classification-unique offender features (Knight & Prentky, 1990). Mostly, these typologies imply that victimization is associated with the specific type of offence.

Child Sexual Abusers is one classification of sex offenders. According to Finkelhor (1984), this is the use of force which is sexual in nature to a victim who is younger than age 13 and age difference between that victim and the perpetrator is of at least 5 years. The victim can also be between 13 and 16 and the age difference between perpetrator and victim is at least 10 years. These type of offenders often develop a relationship with that child for them to manipulate him/her into agreeing with the sexual act. Well, a defining feature of this type of abuse is the offender’s perception that sexual relationship is acceptable and mutual (Groth, 1983).

Internet offenders is another type of sex offenders which is brought about by the widespread of pornography online, this has facilitated the development and maintenance of sexual offences (Quayle, 2008). These online materials have been used as a tool for child sexual abuse in three ways: sharing pornographic materials, viewing pornographic images and luring children victims online (Robertiello & Terry, 2007).

Pornographic materials of children are downloaded by offenders to aid masturbation and arousal. They use these materials as a way of facilitating social relationships and as a way of collecting activity (Quayle & Taylor, 2003). Comparing these offenders to child sexual abusers, they reported more psychological difficulties in adulthood and fewer sexual conviction (Webb, Craissati& Keen, 2007).

At the extreme end of the delay, child sexual abuse includes any sexual intercourse or its deviations. These also includes all offences that do involve sexually touching a child, non-touching offences and also sexual exploitation which are as harmful and devastating to child’s well-being. Touching offences may include fondling, making a child touch an adult’s sexual organs and penetrating a child’s vagina or anus.

Non-touching sexual offenses may involveengaging in indecent exposure or exhibitionism, masturbating in front of a child or exposing children in indecent exhibitionism. Lastly, soliciting a child and suing a child to film pornography will be considered as an act of sexual exploitation.

Online child pornography is an example of internet offenders. It involves using the Internet to transmit child pornography. Under the federal law, any activity that involves transmitting child pornography is entitled to a minimum five year sentence and a maximum 20 year sentence (Simon, 1997).

The criminal justice system can manage child sexual abusers by setting out the approach that prosecutors should take when dealing with cases involving child abuse. The guidelines would cover how cases will be managed within the justice system, supporting the victims and witnesses, identifying children who may be at risk of sexual exploitation and assessing credibility of child abuse allegations. The system can also direct prosecutors to focus on the credibility of allegations rather than relying on if victims make good witnesses or not.

Internet offences can be managed and solved out by the criminal justice system. Law enforcement and other officers who deal with these offences need to prioritize their resources. With an overarching aim of protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse, prioritizing and triaging child pornography cases involving production or high-level distribution will greatly bring offenders into justice. With this method, high-priority cases in which children are suspected to already be victims or are at a high risk should receive the most attention.

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