Characteristics of internet child pornography offenders: a comparison with child molesters

Sex Abuse. 2007 Dec;19(4):449-65. doi: 10.1177/107906320701900408. Epub 2007 Nov 16.


The aim of this exploratory study was to compare internet sex offenders with a matched group of child molesters in the Greater London Area. Over an 8-month period 210 subjects were assessed, of whom 90 were internet sex offenders and 120 were child molesters. A wide range of background data was collected, including a number of psychometric measures to determine risk and personality traits. The research identified a number of similarities between internet sex offenders and child molesters on background variables. Specifically, in comparison to the child molesters, the internet offenders reported more psychological difficulties in adulthood and fewer prior sexual convictions. The socio-affective characteristics of internet offenders and child molesters look similar, but the antisocial variables, such as, 'acting out' and breaking social rules underlines their difference. The follow up research was carried out after a short period of time at risk-averaging 18 months-but suggested that internet sex offenders were significantly less likely to fail in the community than child molesters in terms of all types of recidivism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • London
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedophilia / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Desirability*
  • Social Perception