Accounting for the ‘invisibility’ of the female paedophile

Here is another study just added to the Bibliography page:

Accounting for the ‘invisibility’ of the female paedophile: an expert-based perspective from South Africa.


Female child sex offenders are, for the most part, invisible within the existing body of scholarly literature. Additionally, female child sexual offenders are met with disbelief by the public and there are rarely legal consequences for their actions. However, the few studies reporting on female child sexual interest reveal that up to a quarter of reported child sexual abuse cases may involve female perpetrators. This figure implies a discrepancy between the statistical presence of female offenders and their apparent absence as objects of research and public engagement. Taking this discrepancy as its starting point, this study explores perceptions of female child sex offenders with a focus on the paedophile as a possible subtype, by key South African professionals working in the field of child sexual abuse. This study found that the participants all held contradicting ideas and beliefs about such an offender’s psychological profile and the appropriate legal consequences for female child sexual abuse perpetration. Significantly, the participants highlighted the relative absence of treatment and rehabilitation for female sexual offenders and paedophiles. These findings call for greater awareness of female child sex offenders and the specific type of female paedophile by scholars, mental health professionals and the public more broadly.

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