Psychiatry pp 425-434 | Cite as

Violent and Non-Violent Sex Offenders

  • Donald J. West


Although this session is devoted to homicidal violence, and I am asked to speak about murderous sex offenders, I want first to emphasize that many sex offenders are non-violent and only very few are ever homicidal. In England, a survey of the Home Office Research Unit (Walmsley and White, 1979), based on an analysis of the offences of all persons convicted for indictable sex offences in a given year, came to the remarkable conclusion that 43 per cent of all the offenders had been involved with victims (or participants) who appeared to have been fully consenting to what took place. They were careful to exclude all victims under ten years of age, whose willingness or otherwise was difficult to establish, and all victims who appeared to have cooperated out of fear or mere obedience, but even so consensual activities comprised a substantial proportion of the offences dealt with by the courts. The explanation is that sex offences include, in addition to assaults in the true sense of the word, a high proportion of mere indecencies, that is sexual activities involving young persons under the legal age of consent, or sexual acts in public places, mostly homosexual behaviour in men’s lavatories.


Foster Parent Psychopathic Trait Homosexual Behaviour Sexual Guilt Sexual Sadism 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald J. West
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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