Sexual Homicide Targeting Children : Exploring Offender, Victim, and Modus Operandi Factors

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Publication Details
Author list: Skott, Sara
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 0306-624X


Sexual child homicides are rare, even among sexual homicides, and no previous study has compared sexual child homicide with nonsexual child homicides. To address this gap in research, this study aims to compare sexual child homicide offenders (n = 8) with two comparison groups: sexual adult homicide offenders (n = 89) and nonsexual child homicide offenders (n = 176) regarding victim, offender, and modus operandi factors. Using bivariate analysis, the results show that although sexual child homicide offenders appear more similar to other sexual homicide offenders than to homicide offenders, sexual offenders targeting children differ from both groups on certain variables. Sexual child homicide offenders more often used strangulation as a method of killing, had intoxicated victims, used multiple locations, and destroyed evidence after the murder. The study concludes that sexual homicide offenders targeting children should be considered distinct from other offenders and that the salient characteristics linked to sadism and instrumentality should be further examined.

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