Psychiatric and Forensic Differences Between Men Charged with Sex Offences and Men Charged with Other Offences [2020]

Studies on differences between individuals convicted of sexual offences and nonsexual offences are sparse and there is an on‐going debate as to whether sexual offenders differ from other offenders. The primary aim of this study was to determine demographic characteristics, prevalence of mental disorders, alcohol and drug use at the time of the crime and the criminal responsibility of individuals charged with sexual offences, compared to nonsexual crimes, with the aim of bringing awareness to the similarities and differences between men charged with sex offences and those charged with other crimes. This is a single‐institution retrospective study of subjects charged with sexual offences and sent for institutional psychiatric evaluation to a Forensic Psychiatric Centre in an urban, academic, tertiary‐care center. The control group consisted of individuals charged with nonsexual offences referred to the same center. Results showed significant differences between individuals charged with sexual offences and nonsexual offences. Men charged with sex offences more frequently committed their crimes alone and victimized children equally as often as adults. They also less frequently pleaded guilty in court. They were more likely to be abused in childhood and more often had antisocial personality disorder and paraphilias and less often substance‐related disorders. The majority were considered criminally responsible. Our results show that sex offenders are different from nonsex offenders in many characteristics of their personal history, offence characteristics and forensic evaluations and these particular differences warrant different approaches to the prevention of future re‐offending, compared to nonsex offenders.

Goran Arbanas Ph.D., Paula Marinović M.D., Nadica Buzina Ph.D.
Journal of Forensic Sciences, 27 July 2020