Contact sexual offending by men with online sexual offenses

Sex Abuse. 2011 Mar;23(1):124-45. doi: 10.1177/1079063210369013. Epub 2010 Dec 20.


There is much concern about the likelihood that online sexual offenders (particularly online child pornography offenders) have either committed or will commit offline sexual offenses involving contact with a victim. This study addresses this question in two meta-analyses: the first examined the contact sexual offense histories of online offenders, whereas the second examined the recidivism rates from follow-up studies of online offenders. The first meta-analysis found that approximately 1 in 8 online offenders (12%) have an officially known contact sexual offense history at the time of their index offense (k = 21, N = 4,464). Approximately one in two (55%) online offenders admitted to a contact sexual offense in the six studies that had self-report data (N = 523). The second meta-analysis revealed that 4.6% of online offenders committed a new sexual offense of some kind during a 1.5- to 6-year follow-up (k = 9, N = 2,630); 2.0% committed a contact sexual offense and 3.4% committed a new child pornography offense. The results of these two quantitative reviews suggest that there may be a distinct subgroup of online-only offenders who pose relatively low risk of committing contact sexual offenses in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Criminals / psychology
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Incest / statistics & numerical data
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Pedophilia / epidemiology*
  • Pedophilia / prevention & control
  • Rape
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors