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Early childhood experiences of men sexually abused as children

  • Russell M.F. Hawkins (a1) and Freda Briggs (a1)


A study which reported information obtained from male child molesters and from the male victims of child abuse has recently been completed. When the results of this study were released, they attracted considerable media attention. Unfortunately the media reports were often inaccurate. The page 1 headline on the South Australian edition of the Australian (Powell, 6/1/95), for example said ‘One in two molesters cites abuse by Catholics’. This is incorrect. Furthermore, the media reports tended to unduly focus on issues to do with abuse by religious authorities and they failed to provide detail about other aspects of the study. In order to correct misinformation spread by the media, we present a short description of the study.


Corresponding author

School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Magill SA 5072, Telephone: (08) 302 4488; Fax: (08) 302 4723


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Baker, A. & Duncan, S. (1985) Child sexual abuse: A study of prevalence in Great Britain. Child Abuse and Neglect, 9, 457476.
Briggs, F., Hawkins, R.M.F. & Williams, M. (1994) A comparison of the early childhood and family experiences of incarcerated, convicted male child molesters and men who were sexually abused in childhood and have no convictions for sexual offences against children, Report to the Criminology Research Council, Canberra.
Dimock, P.T. (1988) Adult males sexually abused as children: Characteristics and implications for treatment, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 3, 203221.
Finkelhor, D. (1984) Child sexual abuse: New theory and research. New York: Free Press.
Goldman, R.J. & Goldman, J.D.G. (1988) The prevalence and nature of child sexual abuse in Australia, Australian Journal of Sex, Marriage and Family, 9, 94106.
Hunter, M. (1990) Abused boys: The neglected victims of sexual abuse. New York: Fawcett Columbine.
Powell, S. (1995) One in two molesters cites abuse by Catholics, The Australian (newspaper), 6/1/95, pl.
Rush, F. (1980) The best kept secret. Sexual abuse of children. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Early childhood experiences of men sexually abused as children

  • Russell M.F. Hawkins (a1) and Freda Briggs (a1)


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