03 Nov ‘Did you know?’ Thursdays
The victim-to-perpetrator cycle
What are the factors increasing the likelihood of sexual abuse on children? Research has found that individuals who experience sexual violence in their childhood are more likely to commit sexual assault when they grow up. This finding has led to the development of the ‘victim-to-perpetrator cycle’ theory, which maintains that victimisation during childhood can play a pivotal role in criminal behaviour during adulthood.
The connection is not a cause-effect one, and victimisation alone is not a sufficient factor. Severity of the sexual abuse, lack of emotional support, lack of parental supervision in conjuction with other elements, can increase the chances that the individual will turn to crime later on in life. The ‘victim-to-perpetrator cycle’ theory is not absolute and should not be applied uncritically. However, it highlights the need to take youth victimisation seriously.
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