Most cases of child sexual abuse involve family members or caregivers who are known to the child. Additionally, although most individuals who sexually abuse children are male, some are female. On this page, find resources regarding the characteristics of people who sexually abuse children, including information about juvenile sex offenders, female sex offenders, and sexual exploitation.
Child Sexual Abuse (PDF - 1,884 KB)
National Children's Advocacy Center (2018)
Outlines characteristics of those who engage in child sexual abuse, describes victim/perpetrator relationships, and details how perpetrators manipulate children and families.
Child Sexual Abuse
Presents information on child sexual abuse, including about perpetrators. The article discusses how 93 percent of victims under the age of 18 know their abuser.
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
Prevent Child Abuse America
Defines child sexual abuse, offers examples of child sexual abuse, and discusses how and where child sexual abuse occurs. The webpage also offers key facts about child sexual abuse and the people who commit this type of abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics: Perpetrators (PDF - 432 KB)
Darkness to Light (2017)
Offers statistics on child sexual abuse and describes people who sexually abuse children. The resource reveals about 90 percent of children who are victims know their abuser and that about 30 percent of children are abused by family members.
Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website
U.S. Department of Justice
Allows parents and other concerned citizens to search existing public sex offender registries from States, Tribes, and territories.
FAQs on Treatment for People Who Have Sexually Abused a Child
Stop It Now!
Provides answers to 10 frequently asked questions regarding treatment for individuals who have sexually abused a child. The webpage includes links to resources to find therapists who specialize in treating sexual behavior problems.
Patterns of Sexual Abuse Among Children: Victims' and Perpetrators' Characteristics
Hassan, Gary, Killion, Lewin, & Totten (2015)
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 24(4)
Examines child sexual abuse characteristics of both victims and perpetrators. According to the study, those who sexually abuse children were 97 percent male, were mostly known to their victims (80 percent), and had an average age of 23.
Understanding What Makes Kids Vulnerable to Being Sexually Abused
Stop It Now!
Explores risk factors, including those in the household, that may make some children especially vulnerable to sexual abuse, including settings where secrecy is encouraged, stress in the family, exposure to pornography, witnessing prostitution, alcohol abuse, and more.
Who Are Perpetrators?
Mothers of Sexually Abused Children (2016)
Describes the various categories of people who engage in child sexual abuse. The article focuses on the different emotional responses and decision-making processes that each offender category will elicit in the mother or caregiver of the child who has been sexually abused.
Who Are the Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse?
Community Advocates for Family & Youth
Lists characteristics of people who commit child sexual abuse. Those who engage in child sexual abuse are generally known to the family and child (with about 30 percent being relatives of the child), are mostly men, and may contact the child through the internet.