Sexual victimization in childhood and the propensity for juvenile delinquency and adult criminal behavior: A systematic review

Academic Article


  • Child sexual abuse has been suggested as a precursor to criminal and deviant behaviors in adolescence and adulthood. This review will examine and consolidate findings from the empirical research concerning childhood sexual abuse and the propensity of victims to become juvenile and adult offenders. First, we develop a demographic profile of sexual abuse victims most likely to commit juvenile and adult offenses. Second, we explore the literature to determine whether, in general, sexually abused children have an increased likelihood of criminality as juveniles and as adults. Third, we explore whether the types of crimes and delinquent acts committed by sexual abuse victims are unique or consistent with traditional crime trajectories. Fourth, the methodological and statistical limitations of this literature will be discussed, and suggestions for future research will be presented. © 2011.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McGrath SA; Nilsen AA; Kerley KR
  • Start Page

  • 485
  • End Page

  • 492
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 6