No general sex offender "profile" exists as sex offenders tend to be similar to those in the general community. No generalizations can be made about the age, education, employment, social and economic status, mental health, gender, or criminal tendencies, or any other specific factor or variable. If certain characteristics, behaviors, environmental, and relational factors are present at once, the likelihood is high. Some characteristics predict abuse.

Sexual arousal and preference for sexual behaviors outside the realm of normal, healthy, or appropriate:

  • Sexual behaviors with others against their will
  • Enjoyment in inflicting pain on others
  • Pattern of violence and aggression
  • Exposure in public setting
  • Secretly watching other undressing or engaging in sexual activity

Pro-offending attitudes and self-statements of sex offenders, condoning sexual abuse:

  • Tell themselves that the behavior is not serious or harmful
  • Tell themselves that the victim enjoyed the sexual activity
  • Justification of behavior such as "victim enjoyed the activity"
  • Victim initiated the sexual activity
  • Give themselves permission to engage in behavior

Lack of social and interpersonal skills:

  • Problems in intimate relationships
  • Poor communication skills
  • Social isolation

Lack of empathy for victim:

  • Unable to put themselves in another person's place
  • Unable to feel what another person may be feeling

Poor stress management and self-control:

  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Highly impulsive
  • Unable to say "no" to self

Other non-disclosed deviant behaviors in offender history:

  • More to the story than self-report of offender (In other words: offenders lie.)
  • Additional disclosures of other events not previously disclosed by victim(s)
  • Additional victims or additional behaviors such as exhibitionism or frotteurism

History of abuse:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during childhood



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