Council on Sex Offender Treatment Treatment of Sex Offenders - Facts

Sexual assault is the most common serious harms that a child can experience (1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys). Nearly 2 million Texans were sexually assaulted in 2002. A quarter of a million children are sexually assaulted every year in Texas (National Crime Victims Research and Treatment, 2000). In 2003, there were only 45,000 sex offenders on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Database.

One reported rape or attempted rape takes place approximately every 6 minutes (Federal Bureau of Investigations). Only twenty percent (20%) of all sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement. Of that twenty percent reported only 10% result in the filing of a charge and 40% of those cases result in a conviction (Lisak, 2002). In 2002 study of 120 undetected rapists in Boston, Massachusetts, 76 serial rapists had on average attacked 14 victims and were responsible for 439 rapes and attempted rapes, 49 sexual assaults, and 277 acts of sexual abuse against children (Lisak, 2002). These statistics demonstrate the disparity between “official” sexual assault statistics and the reality of the epidemic. The disturbing reality is that the majority of individuals who abuse sexually will not end up in the criminal justice system and sex offenders on community supervision or on the public registries represent only a small portion of the actual sex offenders living in our communities.

The media’s portrayal of sex offenders has continuously misled the public that all sex offenders are sexually violent predators. Commentators, the media, and even academia use the terms “sex offender” and “sexual predator” in a virtually interchangeable manner (Quinn, 2004). Scientific researched based evidence has proven that this is simply not true. The media’s use of such inclusive labels of all sex offenders as dangerous psychopaths disregards the diversity of motive, commitment, and norm violation among sex offenders.

Sex offenders are an extremely heterogeneous mixture and do not fit into a standard profile but fall into numerous categories, from the voyeur, exhibitionist, statutory offender, incest offender, the pedophile, the rapists, the sexual sadist, sexual murderers, to the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). Incarceration in a penal institution does not deter repeat sexually violent predators or the proliferation of sexual violence. Persons who abuse sexually are male and female and come from all socioeconomic and racial groups. Most sex offending begins during adolescence. It is important to remember that the diagnosis itself of pedophilia does not determine a sex offender’s dangerousness. It is the sex offender’s behavior that determines the level of dangerousness. Typology categories should be used with extreme caution because many sex offenders crossover to different victims, can fall into multiple categories, and have multiple paraphilias. The following are some paraphilias:

  • Rape-forced sexual contact
  • Child molesting-having sexual contact with a person under 18
  • Bestiality-sexual contact with animals
  • Frottage-touching or rubbing a person for sexual gratification without the person’s consent
  • Necrophilia-sexual contact with a deceased person
  • Voyeurism-watching someone for the purpose of sexual gratification
  • Troilism-use of dolls or mannequins during sexual acts
  • Exposing-displaying of one’s genitals for the purpose of sexual gratification
  • Bondage-tying up a person while engaged in sexually deviant behavior
  • Obscene calls-use of the telephone or other means to make sexual comments without a persons consent
  • Deviant masturbation-masturbating while thinking deviant thoughts


Crossover sexual offenses are defined as those in which victims are from a multiple age, gender, relationship categories, and paraphilic behaviors (Heil, 2003).

Last updated April 5, 2010