Group sexual offending: Comparing adolescent female with adolescent male offenders
Most academic literature on sexual offences committed by juveniles describes offences by solo (lone) offenders. In a sense, this is remarkable because co-offending is much more prevalent among juveniles than among adults (Reiss, 1988). A considerable proportion of sexual offences are committed in a group (i.e. two or more persons) (Bijleveld, Weerman, Looije & Hendriks, 2007; Woodhams, 2008). In most studies concerning multiple perpetrator offending, two perpetrators are considered a group. However, according to some authors (Harkins & Dixon, 2009; Horvath & Kelly, 2009), it is questionable whether two people co-offending together constitute a ‘group’ (see Chapter 4 by Mackenzie Lambine for a comprehensive discussion of this debate). As a result of such disagreement in the literature, Horvath and Kelly (2009) proposed the use of the overarching term of ‘multiple perpetrator rape’, with ‘duo rape’ being suggested as a term for use when a rape is committed by just two persons who do not have any established allegiance beyond friendship. We acknowledge that different kinds of group sexual offending can be distinguished. However, as not all group sexual offences are rapes (Bijleveld & Hendriks, 2003; Bijleveld et al. 2007) we have decided not to use the term ‘rape’, but instead have opted to use the general term ‘group sexual offending’.