Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs

Publication Date



A female sex offender is any female who engages in criminal sexual penetration, and/or criminal sexual contact with a minor and is charged with a criminal offense within a court of law (New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Unannotated, 2012) Early research purports that there is a high prevalence of male sex offenders in comparison to the low prevalence of female sex offenders. A large body of research focuses on male sex offenders but it is problematic to generalize the results of these studies to women sex offenders (Vandiver & Walker, 2002; Wijkman, Bijleveld, & Hendricks, 2010). The gap in research on female sex offenders gives the impression to society that female sex offenders do not exist. There is very little empirical research that provides the exact number of female sex offenders in the United States (O'Connor, 1987; Finkelhor, Hotaling & Smith, 1990; Lewis & Stanley, 2000; Vandiver & Walker, 2002). Official reports and independent studies vary in the number of female sex offenders reported. Some studies report that females are involved in 1% of all sexual offenses whereas international statistics report that females make up 5% of the sex offending population (Vandiver & Walker, 2002; Cortoni, Hanson & Coache, M., 2010). Other empirical studies report that females make up 60% of all sex offenders (Vandiver & Walker, 2002). The variation between these reports demonstrates that there is a need for more research conducted with female sex offenders in order to prevent such abuse. This current study will attempt to determine if gender roles affect judicial attitudes towards female/male sex offenders.


Female Sex Offender

Document Type




Degree Name

Counselor Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Advisor

Goodrich, Dr. Kristopher

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lemberger-Truelove, Dr. Matthew

Second Committee Member

Warner, Dr. Sharon

Third Committee Member

Warner, Dr. Teddy