Things to Know

Facts About Sex Offenders

  • In 2003, there were approximately 455,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.
  • Most sex offenders (80-95%) assault people they know.
  • At least 1/2 of convicted child molesters report that they've also sexually assaulted an adult.
  • Over 80% of convicted adult rapists report that they have molested children.
  • Approximately 1/3 of sex offenders report assaulting both males & females.
  • Most convicted sex offenders have committed many, many assaults before being caught.
  • Most sex offenders report that they have committed multiple types of sexual assault (i.e., exhibitionism, voyeurism, oral sex, vaginal penetration, attempted penetration, fondling, & incest).
  • Over 2/3 of offenders who reported committing incest also said they assaulted victims outside the family.
  • Some studies of victims have shown less than 30% of sex crimes are reported to law enforcement.
  • Young victims who know or are related to the perpetrator are least likely to report the crime to authorities.

Sex Offender Characteristics

  • Most offenders commit multiple crimes against multiple types of victims with whom they have varying types of relationships (adults, children, male, female, known & unknown). This behavior is known as "crossover."
  • Sex offenders rarely commit just 1 type of offense. Many offenders have NO official criminal record or sex crime history of any kind.
  • There is no such thing as a "typical" sex offender; however, all tend to be manipulative, deceptive, & secretive.
  • Sex offenders come from all backgrounds, ages, income levels, & professions.
  • Sexual deviancy often begins in adolescence.
  • Sex offenders usually do not commit their crimes impulsively. They usually carefully plan their crimes.
  • Approximately 4% of sexual assaults are committed by women.
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