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Durham University

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Publication details

Darling, A., Hackett, S. & Jamie, K. (2018). Female sex offenders who abuse children whilst working in organisational settings: offending, conviction and sentencing. Journal of Sexual Aggression 24(2): 195-213.

Author(s) from Durham


To date, there has been very little research into the phenomenon of female-perpetrated institutional child sexual abuse (CSA). This study explored 71 cases of CSA perpetrated by women working with children, considered by UK police and courts between 2000 and 2016. Qualitative and quantitative content analysis was employed to examine court reports, professional regulatory body decisions, media reports and an online sentencing database in order to identify perpetrator and victim characteristics, the nature of the offending behaviour, modus operandi and criminal justice system responses. Findings indicate most women offended alone and had no previous criminal or employment records of concern. Victims were typically male and 15–16 years old. Most women received custodial sentences, typically of 2–3 years in length. Implications for policy and practice are also discussed.