The Link Between Childhood Sexual Victimisation and later Sexual Offending: A Critical Examination of Validity

Publication Information

Journal Title: Journal of Legal Studies & Research
Author(s): Prabhbir Singh Mann
Published On: 23/10/2023
Volume: 9
Issue: 5
First Page: 179
Last Page: 193
ISSN: 2455-2437
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher

DOI: 10.55662/JLSR.2023.9507

Cite this Article

Prabhbir Singh Mann, The Link Between Childhood Sexual Victimisation and later Sexual Offending: A Critical Examination of Validity, Volume 9 Issue 5, Journal of Legal Studies & Research, 179-193, Published on 23/10/2023, 10.55662/JLSR.2023.9507 Available at


This comprehensive examination critically evaluates the intricate relationship between childhood sexual victimisation and subsequent sexual offending behaviours. This exploration navigates the historical shifts in societal perspectives on sexual abuse, acknowledging the involvement of both genders as both victims and perpetrators. While a widely held belief suggests a causal connection between childhood sexual abuse and later sexual offending, this analysis underscores the need to exercise caution in making sweeping generalisations. Indeed, research findings emphasise that this linkage is neither universal nor unequivocal. The investigation thoroughly dissects prevailing theories, encompassing the victim-to-victimiser cycle, social learning theory, and personality development theory, to illuminate the mechanisms underlying the transition from victim to offender. Supported by empirical evidence, this inquiry substantiates the hypothesis that a history of childhood sexual abuse is more prevalent among individuals who later engage in sexual offending. Nevertheless, it conscientiously acknowledges the limitations and research gaps that exist, particularly in terms of the cycle of violence. Ultimately, this exposition concludes that while childhood sexual abuse is a significant factor in some instances of sexual offending, it neither singly predicts nor dictates such outcomes universally. Consequently, it advocates for the implementation of early intervention programs aimed at aiding abused children and underscores the necessity for comprehensive policies and support systems to deter sexual offending. Moreover, it underscores the paramount importance of understanding the profound impact of trauma on individuals and advocates for empathetic and informed responses to this pressing societal issue. This comprehensive analysis contributes to the ongoing discourse on this critical topic, emphasising the multifaceted nature of the connection between childhood sexual victimisation and subsequent offending behaviour.

Keywords: Childhood sexual victimisation, Sexual offending, Childhood abuse, Victim-to-victimiser cycle, Social learning theory, Personality development theory

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