The recidivism rates of female sexual offenders are low: a meta-analysis

Sex Abuse. 2010 Dec;22(4):387-401. doi: 10.1177/1079063210372142.


This study examined the recidivism rates of female sexual offenders. A meta-analysis of 10 studies (2,490 offenders; average follow-up 6.5 years) showed that female sexual offenders have extremely low rates of sexual recidivism (less than 3%). The recidivism rates for violent (including sexual) offences and for any type of crime were predictably higher than the recidivism rates for sexual offences but still lower than the recidivism rates of male sexual offenders. These findings indicate the need for distinct policies and procedures for assessing and managing the risk of male and female sexual offenders. Risk assessment tools developed specifically for male sexual offenders would be expected to substantially overestimate the recidivism risk of female sexual offenders.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Criminals / psychology
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women / psychology
  • Women's Health