Document Type


Publication details

Nisbet, IA, Smallbone, SW & Wortley, R 2010, 'Developmental, individual and family characteristics of specialist, versatile, and short-duration adolescent sex offenders', Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 85-96.

The abstract and pdf of the published article reproduced in ePublications@SCU with the permission of Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand

Peer Reviewed



This article reports on developmental, individual and family characteristics of 108 adjudicated adolescent sexual offenders who had been referred to a specialised assessment and treatment service. A Principal Components Analysis of measures of developmental characteristics (abuse histories, conduct problems), individual characteristics (callous unemotional traits; externalising and internalising behaviours), and family functioning (parental involvement; parental supervision; positive parenting practices; inconsistent discipline and corporal punishment) yielded three main components. These components were designated Negative Environment, Positive Environment and Transgression. Three subgroups were identified on the basis of their criminal histories: specialist offenders (n = 47); versatile offenders (n = 33), and short-duration offenders (n = 28). MANCOVA revealed a significant multivariate main effect for offender subtype. A significant univariate effect was found for Transgression. Results suggest that offence specialisation and versatility among adolescent sexual offenders may arise from somewhat different developmental pathways.

Find in your library