A leading criminologist who spent 30 years working with thousands of sex offenders has revealed the five common traits almost all perpetrators share – and they’re not what you think.
Criminologist Patrick Tidmarsh has personally managed prison treatment programs for the full gamut of sex offenders – from serial rapists to paedophiles, child molesters to juvenile sex offenders – and believes sex crimes are the most urgently misunderstood subjects of our times.
He believes that if we want to stop sex crimes from occurring, we need to debunk the stereotypes and cut through the stigma.
Like the idea that sex offenders are easily identified as the elderly gentleman in a coffee-stained trench coat, pockets overstuffed with lollipops.
Instead, what Dr Tidmarsh has identified from his encounters with thousands of perpetrators is that they tend to have five dominant characteristics. These attributes were first identified by New Zealand researchers Tony Ward and Thomas Keenan.
1. Problems navigating the adult world
“They find the adult world a difficult place to navigate. So love, friendship, connection, intimacy, all those things they find extremely difficult,” Dr Tidmarsh said.
2. Refusal to accept blame
“They tend to blame anything but themselves for what they do. It’s called ‘uncontrollability’ in things, so using justifications such as ‘it wasn’t me. I was drinking alcohol. I was using pornography’ etc,” Dr Tidmarsh said.
3. A sense of entitlement
“I think we’ve all learnt a lot about entitlement in the last few years. So they feel they should be able to do whatever they want to do to make themselves feel better,” Dr Tidmarsh said.
4. Objectification of women or children as sexual objects
“They can perceive children to be sexual objects,” Dr Tidmarsh said.
5. Damage minimisation
“They are particularly good at minimising the nature of the damage that they do,” Dr Tidmarsh said.
Put these five characteristics together and you get a person much more likely to commit a sexual offence. Certainly at COBRA, we know many perpetrators who personify this set of traits! At Our mission is to help you, your children and those you love to be aware, protected and empowered against these chilling individuals in society. You may not be able to stop them existing, but you CAN stop them from making you their next victim. Learn how with COBRA Sunshine Coast