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Durham University

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Publication details

Christensen, Larissa S. & Darling, Andrea J. (2020). Sexual abuse by educators: a comparison between male and female teachers who sexually abuse students. Journal of Sexual Aggression 26(1): 23-35.

Author(s) from Durham


The study aimed to identify the differences in case characteristics and typologies of female and male teachers who perpetrated sexual abuse on students. Decisions of sexual misconduct reports in England from June 2006 to December 2016 were used. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis was conducted on 20 cases of male and female teacher sexual misconduct (N = 40). Regarding case characteristics, most were secondary school or college teachers, mid-career, with victims of the opposite sex. For differences, male teachers were older and more likely to have: perpetrated more severe and lengthier sexual abuse and previously received warnings. Interestingly, females and males were similar across the preliminary typology: minimisers and deniers; poor mental health or stressors; and young, early career. However, a fourth group of females emerged: “I was overpowered”. The study furthers the understanding of sexual misconduct by teachers and should assist in the development of policies, guidelines, and legislation around prevention.