Facts about perpetrators and victims

The National Crime Agency’s 2023 Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime estimates that there are up to 830,000 adults who pose some degree of sexual risk which is  equivalent to 1.6% of the UK adult population.

According to the findings of a major U.S. study 40% of men who were sexually abused in childhood reported that their abuser was female.

Recent Childline case notes recorded that females were cited as the main perpetrator in 36% of cases reported by boys and 6% of those reported by girls.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales 2019 found that 30% of cases sexual abuse or assault are perpetrated by a stranger.

There is a common and deeply damaging myth which says that male victims are more likely than other people to become perpetrators.  The research shows that this is not true.

In fact while it’s true that some perpetrators have been abused (because 1 in 6 men of all men have had some kind of unwanted sexual experience) the majority haven’t.  

However, the fear that others will see them as potential ‘abusers’ can become a major obstacle to men telling anyone about the experience(s) they suffered.  

This can be compounded if part of their experience involved being pressured to do sexual things to other people.

It is important to remember that the ‘reactive’, coerced behaviours of a traumatised person are very different from a free adult making a conscious decision to commit a crime. 

This myth that a man is ‘infected’ or ‘contaminated’ by his experiences might lead you to fear that you might harm others, despite having no conscious desire or intention to do so.

This might even lead you to limit your interactions with children or avoid relationships.

This is a sad and unnecessary legacy of your abuse which you can challenge and change particularly if you feel able to speak to someone about it.

This can be quite a shock for some people due to misconceptions about sexual crime primarily being perpetrated against women. The figures for women is estimated at 1 in 3.

Read more about the source of the 1 in 6 figure.

There is a misconception that perpetrators are often gay men.  In fact studies suggest perpetrators of any gender most usually identify as heterosexual and are often involved in adult heterosexual relationships at the time of the abusive interaction.

The % of perpetrators who identify as gay mirror the statistics for the % of the whole population.