Since 1990 the number of convicted female defendants charged with sex offenses has grown more than two times the rate of increase for male defendants (Greenfeld & Snell, 2000).
These numbers may actually be low because of the predetermined definition of a sex offender as male, thus causing fewer incidences reported to law enforcement. The reported numbers may also be low because female sex offenders are more difficult than men to identify as they do fit the stereotypes of male sex criminals (Hislop, 2013).
The increase in female-perpetrated abuses over recent years may be due to increased interest in research on the topic, higher level of media coverage and increased use of social media. While the same number of incidences may have remained around the same, national awareness may have resulted in a higher rate of reports and incarcerations.
Giguere, R. & Bumby, K. (2007). Female sex offenders. Center for Sex Offender Management. Retrieved from http://www.csom.org/pubs/female_sex_offenders_brief.pdf
Grenfeld, L. & Snell, T. (2000). Women offenders. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wo.pdf
Hislop, J. (2013). Female sex offenders are often overlooked. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/02/20/too-many-restrictions-on-sex- offenders-or-too-few/female-sex-offenders-are-often-overlooked