ERIC Number: ED401007
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Cycle of Sexual Abuse: Research Inconclusive about Whether Child Victims Become Adult Abusers. Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary. House of Representatives.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. General Government Div.
Sexual abuse can have negative consequences for children during the time of abuse as well as later in life. An important research question concerns the cycle of sexual abuse, specifically the likelihood that individuals who were victims of sexual abuse as children will become sexual abusers of children in adulthood. At the request of Congress, the U.S. General Accounting office completed a review and analysis of available published and unpublished research on the cycle of sexual abuse. Twenty-five studies were identified (the majority retrospective in design) that provided quantitative information relevant to the question, and their methodologies and results were summarized and analyzed. Although a number of retrospective studies found that a substantial percentage of adult sex offenders of children said they had been sexually abused as children, the majority of the studies found that most offenders said they had not been sexually abused during childhood. And although some studies indicated that sexual victimization in childhood may increase the risk that victims will become sexual offenders as adults, various design and measurement problems of both the retrospective and prospective studies precluded drawing definitive conclusions. Overall, the studies indicated that the experience of childhood sexual victimization is likely neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause of adult sexual offending. (Appendices outline the methods and results of retrospective studies of adult sex offenders of children and list the major contributors and research articles used in this report.) (KDFB)
Descriptors: Adults, Child Abuse, Children, Psychological Studies, Sexual Abuse, Social Science Research, Victimization, Victims of Crime
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015; fax: (301) 258-4066; TDD: (301) 413-0006; e-mail: email@example.com (First copy is free; additional copies are $2 each; quantity discounts).
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. General Government Div.
Identifiers: Child Molesters; Retrospective Studies (Psychology); Sex Exploitation; Sex Offenders; Sexual Violence