Rape women

01.08.2019 10:22

Female and male sex offenders are different

Alisa Koch University communication
Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Study by the University of Tübingen examines sexual crime among women for the first time

Female and male sex offenders differ in their approach and the choice of their victims. For example, a study on sex offenders found that they often commit acts together with men without physical contact between the victim and the perpetrator. The lawyer Dr. In a study carried out at the Institute for Criminology (IFK) at the University of Tübingen, Ulrike Hunger analyzed criminal files from 104 female perpetrators who were convicted of a sexual abuse or violent offense. She compared this to a male group of 98 sexual abuse and violent offenders. It is the first study in Germany to deal with the group of convicted sex offenders. The work was published by Duncker & Humblot Verlag. The findings can help to develop individual therapy concepts.

In the case of sexual abuse offenses, power structures are exploited, including, for example, the sexual abuse of children. On the other hand, violence is used or threatened in the case of violent sexual offenses in order to force sexual acts. This includes sexual coercion and rape.

In her criminological study "Convicted Sex Offenders - An Analysis of Sexual Abuse and Violent Offenses", Ulrike Hunger found clear differences when it comes to sexual crime between men and women Criminal offenses involved - 95 percent of them were men. The women named the sexual satisfaction of their accomplices, their love affair with them and their own need for closeness as motives. Typically, in many of the crimes there was no physical contact between the perpetrators and their victims. It was also characteristic of the women that they abused male and female victims equally and that a large proportion of the victims were related to them. The men in the comparison group, on the other hand, almost all committed the acts of abuse alone and mainly for their own sexual satisfaction. The author of the study sums up that they selected mostly female victims as victims, although they rarely abused related victims.

In the group of sexually violent perpetrators, too, other people were typically involved in almost all crimes. The perpetrators themselves often had no physical contact with their victim, but instead encouraged sexual acts or watched them. They cited the fear of being abandoned by an accomplice or being physically abused as the main motivation. Over three quarters of the victims were female. All victims were known to or related to the women - in the case of sexual violence by men, however, the perpetrator and the victim did not know each other in about a third of the cases. The men almost exclusively preferred female victims.

The lawyer compared, among other things, the demographic characteristics of the perpetrators, their family background, gender and age of the victims, those involved in the crime, the act and the judgments. According to this, the perpetrators in the group of sexual abuse crimes were on average 33 years old. The average age of the victims was only twelve years. The men, on the other hand, were on average 37 years old. High educational qualifications were rare among both women and men; around three-quarters of both groups of perpetrators lived in partnerships and had children of their own.

In the group of sexual violent crimes, the perpetrators were significantly younger, averaging 23 years, and many were still young people at the time of the crime. The average age of the victims was 22. In the male comparison group, however, the perpetrators were older, their average age was 39 years. The victims were on average 25 years old.

The empirical background was provided by an analysis of the files on 104 female perpetrators who were convicted of sexual abuse or violent offenses in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg between 2003 and 2012. The male comparison group consisted of 98 sexual abuse and violent offenders from the same federal states and the same period.

Women who commit sexual offenses are still a rare phenomenon in statistics, but they are increasingly coming into the public eye. Much has been reported about the "Staufen abuse case": The perpetrator was sentenced to several years' imprisonment. "In this study, for the first time, the focus is on the small group of sex offenders who are characterized by their very own perpetrator, victim and crime characteristics," says Hunger. “The knowledge about the perpetrators can be helpful for prevention by drawing attention to this topic. In addition, individual therapy concepts can be designed with the help of the results ”.

Scientific contact:

Dr. Ulrike Hunger
University of Tübingen
Law Faculty
Telephone +49 7071 29-72931 (secretariat)
ulrike.hunger [at] gmx.de

Original publication:

Ulrike Hunger: Convicted Sex Offenders - An Empirical Analysis of Sexual Abuse and Violent Crimes, Duncker & Humblot Berlin, 2019.

Features of this press release:
Society, psychology, law
research results