A profile of young sex offenders in South Africa : a pilot study

Wood, Catherine Jane (1999) A profile of young sex offenders in South Africa : a pilot study. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




In-depth interviews and psychometric tests were conducted with 20 young, South African male, hands-on sex offenders, between the ages of seven and 15 years. These offenders were referred by both the legal system and the welfare and health system. The data was gathered for the purpose of drawing up a descriptive profile of salient psychological and sociological characteristics of this population group, the patterns of offenses, the circumstances under which the offenses occurred and victims selected. Results showed that half the sample had committed prior sex offenses. The majority of young sex offenders had a history of consenting sexual interactions, had committed a non-sexual offense and engaged in a range of other antisocial behaviours. Half the sample reported a history of physical or sexual abuse (under-reporting of such victimization experiences was suspected). Typically, the young sex offender w:~s sexually naive and had not received any suitable sex education. He was usually a scholar although his school attendance was often infrequent and he was likely to have failed one or more standards. His intelligence quotient was most likely to fall in or below the borderline range of functioning. He tended to be either socially isolated and socially anxious or alternatively reported having a number of friends and appeared to have adequate social skills. His home environment was typically characterized by overcrowding, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. A significant male relative of his was likely to have committed a criminal offense. In his community environment, he regularly witnessed violence and sexual activity. The sex offenses were usually carried out with a co-perpetrator in a variety of venues. The victim was usually known and younger (mean age = seven years) than the perpetrator (mean age = 12 years). The overall results suggest that young sex offenders commit an array of sexual offenses that do not represent sexual experimentation, but rather indicate a developing pattern of sexual deviance. Comparisons between the above profile and the literature findings are explored. Finally, recommendations for structural changes, assessment procedures, additional future research pessibilities and guidelines for the development of appropriate - treatment programmes are outlined.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sex offenders, Teenage, Paraphilias
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
ID Code:2533
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:15 Mar 2012 13:28
Last Modified:15 Mar 2012 13:28
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