The characteristics of child molesters and child molesting in Queensland

Criminology Research Council grant ; (51/98-9)

This project was jointly funded by the CRC and Queensland Crime Commission. This study utilised official demographic and offence history data and confidential self-report data to examine the characteristics and modus operandi of men currently serving sentences in Queensland for sexual offences against children. Official data were gathered on 323 offenders, and 182 (56.6 per cent) of these provided extensive self-report data. Findings suggested that, in the main, child sexual offenders: are generalist, rather than specialist offenders; known to their victim and to their victims' parents; rarely use overt violence to obtain sexual contact with their victims; and rely on emotional connections with children to avoid detection. The authors argue that existing public policy responses to child sexual abuse rely almost exclusively on tertiary prevention strategies, and that reductions in the incidence of child sexual abuse may be better achieved through primary (for example, situational) and secondary (for example, developmental) prevention programs.