Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Substance Use by Female Sex Offenders: A Peek at Reality

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Substance Use by Female Sex Offenders: A Peek at Reality

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- Female sex offenders should be evaluated for substance abuse no less rigorously than are male sex offenders, Dr. R. Gregg Dwyer said at a poster session of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

"Our search of what little data there are on this topic found that the impact of substance abuse on female sex offending may not be insignificant and may be more important than is generally realized," said Dr. Dwyer, of the department of forensic psychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Data from the U.S. Department of Justice showed that in 2003, females accounted for 1.3% of more than 18,000 arrests for forcible rape and 8.5% of nearly 64,000 sex offenses, not including forcible rape and prostitution, according to Dr. Dwyer.

Women also were credited with 6% of juvenile sex offenses and 12% of cases involving victims under the age of 6 years, he explained.

Unfortunately, these studies failed to adequately study substance use by sex, so little information is available on the degree of substance use by female offenders specifically. That left Dr. Dwyer and his colleagues to extrapolate from a 1996 Department of Justice study showing that:

* An annual average of 183,000 rapes included alcohol use by offenders. …

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