Child Abuse Offenders

A “child sex offender” is someone who takes unfair advantage of the gap between themselves and a person under the age of 18 by using them  in a sexual manner, either for profit or for personal pleasure.  These are  the different classifications* of people exploiting children sexually:

  • Pedophile refers to adults who have a specific and focused sexual interest in pre-pubertal children, or children around the ages of 9 to 12.  While there have been cases of female pedophiles, the majority of pedophiles are male.  Not all pedophiles satisfy their sexual urges in the same way.  Some limit their sexual life to fantasy, while others engage in non-touching abuse (exposure of genital organs, showing and/or talking about pornographic material) or touching abuse (genital touching and fondling, attempted or actual anal, oral, or vaginal penetration).
  • Preferential abusers are those individuals whose preferred sexual objects are children who have reached or passed puberty. Children are the envisioned objects of their sexual desire.  They have sex with children not because of some situational stress or insecurity, but because they are sexually attracted to and prefer children.  Such abusers are primarily men, and their victims are either male or female children.
  • “Situational” or “opportunistic” abusers are those who exploit children when they find themselves in situations where sex with a child is more convenient, or cheaper, than sex with an adult. Their fulfillment, however, is not dependent on the physical or emotional immaturity of the person they exploit. Men who choose children as sexual partners based primarily on misconceptions about sexual health or myths surrounding sexual contact with virgins also fall under this category.
  • Third-party beneficiaries or pimps and recruiters are sex exploiters who arrange or orchestrate children’s sexual contact with another person or persons. They are rarely involved for any purpose other than profit. They are not motivated by personal sexual fixations on children, but rather by the financial benefits involved. Suppliers to pedophiles and other abusers justify their actions because there is a demand for it, and because abusers are willing to pay money for the service.

*Lifted from the background document for the North American Regional Consultation on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work presented by Nicole Ives, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 2-3, 2001
Read more about Child Abuse Offenders:
Sex Offender Profile
Sexual Villainy: A Sex Offender Profile