Commonly used terms

Child Molester – The child molester is most often someone who is sexually attracted to adults, but may molest a young family member in a maladaptive attempt at meeting emotional needs. Many adults who molest a child they know were also abused as children, but could not or did not seek treatment. Thus they never addressed problems such as severe anger, lack of empathy, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy. Especially if treated, incestuous offenders are much less likely to commit a new sex crime.

Juvenile Offender – A growing number of offenders are actually children themselves. The most common ways for youths to wind up on the registry are “Romeo and Juliet” relationships, “sexting,” on phones or on social networking sites, or childish experimentation. Juveniles are highly responsive to treatment, and rarely re-offend as adults.

Pedophile – Pedophiles are adults who are sexually attracted to prepubescent children. With therapy and behavioral management training, many pedophiles can successfully control their behavior, just as alcoholics can successfully stop drinking. True pedophilia is a relatively rare condition.

Predator – Predators are persons who capture and sexually abuse children, usually outside of their family. These offenders often place themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters that they do not know. Predators are usually not pedophiles, but instead enjoy inflicting pain, and have the highest recidivism rate (17%). Abductions by child predators are relatively rare, and less than 1% of sex crimes involve murder.

Pervert – “a person whose sexual behavior is considered strange and unpleasant by most people” (Cambridge Dictionary)