Female Sexual Offenders and Offending

AuthorMargaret Fitzgerald-O’Reilly,Siobhan Weare,Catherine O’Sullivan,Susan Leahy
Published date01 November 2020
Date01 November 2020
Subject MatterIntroduction to the Special Issue
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2020, Vol. 36(4) 476 –479
© The Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1043986220945452
Introduction to the Special Issue
Female Sexual Offenders
and Offending
The issue of female sexual offenders and offending is one that has received limited
attention within academic scholarship, particularly when compared with the more
detailed exploration given to male sex offenders (see e.g., Robertiello & Terry, 2007).
The six articles in this special edition bring together a variety of international (USA,
UK, and Ireland) and multi-disciplinary (health, legal, criminological, and psychologi-
cal) perspectives on female sex offending. Novel data and insights are provided on
prevalence and predictors of female-perpetrated sexual violence, the lived experiences
of victims, and criminal justice system responses.
In exploring issues surrounding female sex offenders and offending, we want to be
clear from the outset that this is not being done to detract from, undermine, or mini-
mize the experiences of women as victims of male-perpetrated sexual violence, nor is
this Special Issue comparing female sex offenders to their male equivalents. The pur-
pose of the collection of work featured in this Special Issue is to highlight the impor-
tance of exploring a topic that is traditionally overlooked and to add to our understanding
of the many forms that sexual violence can take.
The Contributions
All six articles featured in this Special Issue report on and present novel empirical data
associated with female sex offenders. A range of sexually abusive behavior is covered,
including rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and forced penetration. Specific
definitions associated with the different terminology used are provided in the articles.
Contributions are grouped together on the basis of jurisdiction. Despite all focusing on
Anglophone and common law jurisdictions, there are culture differences between the
countries in question, and accordingly it is useful to group them together.
The articles by Anderson et al. and Struckman-Johnson et al. are both based on
studies conducted in the United States, which incorporated Amazon Mechanical Turk
(MTurk) participants. Anderson et al.’s paper involved more than 1,000 participants
from the United States, who were recruited across three different studies to assess
forced penetration victimization and perpetration. They found that if forced penetra-
tion was assessed, it would increase the reported prevalence rates of sexual victimiza-
tion, particularly in heterosexual men, and correspondingly the rates of perpetration in
945452CCJXXX10.1177/1043986220945452Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeFitzgerald-O’Reilly et al.

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