The primary prevention of female sexual offending: current opportunities

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A public health approach to the primary prevention of sexual offending has generated positive outcomes. Recent campaigns have challenged societal stereotypes of sexual offenders; changed organizational policies and increased public knowledge. However, primary prevention has largely been missing for female sexual offenders. This is because female sexual abuse has generated much less attention than its male equivalent. To introduce relevant context, this article initially presents a short literature review. This aims to critically explore the extent of the issue and what motivates relevant women. Typologies are then applied to introduce the distinctions between solo offenders and co-offenders. This distinction is utilized to consider how primary prevention could address female sexual offending. Two key themes emerge in terms of societal stereotypes and key offending spaces. The current evidence highlights the need to challenge societal norms, which minimize women’s propensity to commit sexual offences. It also appears significant to challenge stereotypes, which glorify attractive women who sexually abuse adolescent males. The opportunities within institutional spaces and the domestic setting are also considered, with deliberation to targeting relevant professionals and guardians in future primary prevention efforts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Victimology and Victim Justice
Early online date26 Nov 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 26 Nov 2022


  • prevention
  • female sex offenders
  • sex offending
  • child sexual offending
  • social constructions
  • primary prevention
  • gender and crime
  • solo offenders
  • co-offenders


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