SSP16: A Conversation with Dr. Franca Cortoni About Women Who Sexually Abuse

Dr. Franca Cortoni presents Current Issues in the Assessment, Treatment, and Management of Female Sexual Abusers

Dr. Franca Cortoni is one of the world’s leading experts on women who sexually abuse. She is currently a full time faculty member of the University of Montreal School of Criminology, a research fellow at the International Center of Comparative Criminology, and president of ATSA (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers).

In this episode, Dr. Cortoni:

  • Expels the popular myth that there is no such thing as a woman who purposefully choose to sexually abuse.
  • Explains why we cannot apply to women the same tools that have been developed for assessing risk of recidivism in men.
  • Talks about gender differences in treatment and management needs.

Be sure to leave us your comments/questions on this podcast episode!

Related SSP Material:
– Women Who Sexually Abuse: Assessment, Treatment, and Management, by Franca Cortoni – Dr. Cortoni reviews what we currently know about women who engaged in sexually abusive behavior and recommends best practices for the assessment, treatment and management of female sexual offenders

Safer Society Handbook of Sexual Abuser Assessment and Treatment, Chapter 15, Working with Women Who Sexually Offend, by Franca Cortoni, a pdf downloadable.

Comments 7

  1. This podcast was very interesting and helpful with practical explanation about women that sexually abuse. Well worth the time to listen.

  2. Torland E. Cornelius-Adkins LCSW, BCD, Ph. d. (Candidate)

    This podcast was very informative. I look forward to future conversations with Dr. Cortoni.

  3. The question I would have is, if women are a far lesser risk to reoffend, is treatment necessary? Realizing that numbers are low and research difficult to determine because of low numbers, still wondering if treatment effects reoffending, or is it just a reaction to being caught and convicted?

  4. Greetings wonderful interview I have worked with female offenders on a peer to peer level helping them through the process from the abuse they received from childhood it was great hearing about female offenders as there is not much information out there.
    I am survived both sides of the fence from childhood sexual abuse but I harder time understanding why women do.
    I will definitely listen to this interview again.
    Best Regards

  5. I appreciate this interview, thank you. I have a question about recidivism – knowing that reports about women abusers are less common, how do we know for sure that the recidivism rates are actually lower than men? Are the rates really lower, or are kids just not reporting or being believed when they report – considering that it’s harder to believe a report about a woman, and that so often abuse by women can look like childcare. I’d love to hear your answer! thank you!

    1. Post

      Thank you, Ciara, for listening to the podcast and asking your question. I am going to try to get Dr. Cortoni to answer your question.

    2. Thank you Ciara for your question. Our knowledge of recidivism is based on offenses that have occurred after the offender had been reported to the police and found guilty of a sexual offense. It is well established that for both general and violent offenses, women recidivate far less than men. It is therefore not surprising to find that women also have lower sexual recidivism rates than men. Regarding the issue of under-reporting: it is established that new sexual offenses by known offenders are much more readily reported than offenses committed by someone who has not yet been detected for a sexual offense – this is because the offender is already known to the police. There is no reason to believe that this reporting would be less frequent or less believed if the known offender is a woman. Further, while it is well established that reports of a sexual offense by a woman were frequently discounted in the past, this pattern appears to be much less frequent now, in particular if the report, as mentioned above, concerns a known sexual offender. Hence, while there is no way of knowing the true extent of sexual recidivism by women, just like we have no way of knowing the true extent of sexual recidivism by men, there is no reason to believe that the lower rate of sexual recidivism among women would be due to much less reporting of a new sexual offense if committed by a known female sexual offender compared to a known male sexual offender. I hope this is helpful.

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