Offenders: characteristics and treatment.

J. V. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


People who sexually abuse children are diverse in terms of age, occupation, income level, marital status, and ethnic group. At one time it was believed that sex offenders could be easily categorized along three dimensions: offending against either adults or children; offending against either members of their families or against acquaintances and strangers; offending in noncontact ways (for example, exhibitionism) or through bodily contact. There is growing evidence that a number of offenders offend across these categories. Many child sexual abusers are themselves adolescents, and many adult offenders first offended when they were adolescents. A review of the literature reveals a paucity of controlled therapy outcome studies on the effectiveness of treatment, and existing uncontrolled studies are marked by methodological problems. This has led some to conclude that there is insufficient evidence to prove the effectiveness of treatment for child molesters. However, there have been major changes in treatment programs over the years, and some more recent studies provide reason for optimism about the effectiveness of current treatment methods for some offenders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-197
Number of pages22
JournalThe Future of children / Center for the Future of Children, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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