Profile of a Child Sex Offender

Unfortunately, there is no identifiable profile of people who may abuse or exploit children. There is no single reason or cause that prompts sexual offending and there is no test or easy diagnosis that predicts people’s behaviour. People who abuse children range in age, gender, class, race, and religion. Perpetrators of child abuse include strangers, family members, community leaders, other children, etc.

Nevertheless, available data and studies globally on child abuse suggest that the majority of offenses are committed by someone that the child knows, as opposed to strangers.

A recent study by ECPAT-Cambodia report on victim- offender relationship in rape cases revealed that only 1% of the victims (included in the data) were sexually assaulted by someone unfamiliar to them. Similar data emerged in the data collected on trafficker-victim relationships. A majority of them were friends of the victim or of the victim’s family. The data on rape cases in 2009 found that, of 202 underage victims, 143 children were raped by their neighbours or persons they know, 27 were raped by their fathers, step fathers, or adopted fathers, 16 were raped by other relatives, and 2 were raped by their teachers

Due to the proximity between child victims and perpetrators, there is often a relationship of trust which exists not only between the abuser and the child, but also between the abuser and the child’s family and/or community. The abuser is thus unlikely to raise suspicion. Awareness of this trend, and the behaviours and techniques identified as common to a number of offenders, can help to protect children.