Understanding sexual violence and abuse enhances our capacity to prevent and respond effectively to this issue. Understanding causal pathways, and individual, ecological, and situational risk factors, for example, provides important information to guide the development of effective primary and secondary prevention initiatives. Likewise, understanding reoffending pathways, recidivism and re-victimisation risks, can inform tertiary responses to sexual violence and abuse. For this reason, the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit focuses on research that promotes and enhances our understanding of sexual violence and abuse.
The following publications, authored by members of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit, contribute to our knowledge and understanding of sexual violence and abuse.
Brown, S. (2020). Key messages from research on child sexual abuse perpetrated by adults. Centre of Expertise in Child Sexual Abuse. Available for download here.
Brown, S. (2020). ‘What Do We Know About the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children? Implications for Research and Practice’. In S. Kewley & C. Barlow (Eds). Preventing Sexual Violence: Problems and Possibilities. Bristol University Press. ISBN: 978-1529203769
Darling, A., & Christensen, L.S. (2020). Female Child Sexual Offenders. In Bryce, I., & Petherick, W., Child Sexual Abuse: Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact and Management. US: Academic Press/Elsevier
Christensen, L.S., & Tsagaris, G. (2020). Offenders convicted of child sexual exploitation material offences: Characteristics of offenders and an exploration of judicial censure. Psychiatry, Psychology & Law.
Osbourne, M.G., & Christensen, L.S. (2020). Pathways to child sexual offending: Appling Ward and Siegert’s Pathways Model on offenders convicted of penetrative offences on children. Sexuality & Culture. doi: 10.1007/s12119-020-09718-4
Rayment-McHugh, S. (2020). The uneven distribution of child sexual abuse. In. Bryce, I., & Petherick, W. (Eds). Childhood Sexual Abuse: Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact and Management. US: Academic Press/Elsevier
Moritz, D., & Christensen, L.S. (2020). When sexting conflicts with child sexual abuse material: The legal and social consequences for children. Psychiatry, Psychology & Law. doi: 10.1080/13218719.2020.1742242.
Christensen, L.S., & Darling, A. (2019). Sexual abuse by educators: A comparison between male and female teachers who sexually abuse students. Journal of Sexual Aggression. Online first: https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2019.1616119
Adams, D., McKillop, N., McGrath, A & Smallbone, S. (2019). Developmental and sexual offense onset characteristics of Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous male youth who sexually offend. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. Online first: https://doi.org/10.1177/1079063219871575
McKillop N., Rayment-McHugh S., Smallbone S. & Bromham, Z.(2019). Part B - Chapter 4; Understanding and preventing the onset of child sexual abuse in adolescence and adulthood In Phelan M (Ed). Crime & Justice Research 2019. Special reports. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/special/crime-and-justice-research-2019
Christensen, L.S. & Jansen, K. (2019). Gender comparisons of offenders: Males and females who sexually offend against children. In I. Bryce, Y. Robinson, W. Petherick, W. Child Abuse and Neglect: Forensic issues in evidence, impact and Management. London: Elsevier
McKillop N., Rayment-McHugh S., Smallbone S. & Bromham Z. (2018). Understanding and preventing the onset of child sexual abuse in adolescence and adulthood. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice No. 554. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi554
McKillop N., Rayment-McHugh S., Smallbone S. & Bromham Z. (2018). Understanding and preventing the onset of child sexual abuse in adolescence and adulthood. Report to the Criminology Research Advisory Council. http://crg.aic.gov.au/reports/1819/30-1314-FinalReport.pdf
Christensen, L.S. (2018). Professionals’ perceptions of female child sexual offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advanced online publication.
Christensen, L. S. (2018). The New Portrayal of Female Child Sexual Offenders in the Print Media: A Qualitative Content Analysis. Sexuality & Culture, 22(1), 176-189.
Christensen, L.S. (2017). Child sex offenders: The psychology of offending. In W. Petherick & G. Sinnamon (Ed.), The Psychology of Criminal And Antisocial Behavior. California: Elsevier Inc.
Cale, J., Smallbone, S., Rayment-McHugh, S. & Dowling, C. (2016). Offence trajectories, the unfolding of sexual and non-sexual criminal activity and sex offence characteristics of adolescent sex offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 28(8), 791-812.
McKillop, N., Brown, S., Wortley, R. & Smallbone, S. (2015). How victim age affects the context and timing of child sexual abuse: applying routine activities approach to the first sexual abuse incident. Crime Science: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 4 (17): http://crimesciencejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40163-015-0031-8.
McKillop, N., Brown, S., Smallbone, S. & Pritchard, K. (2015). Similarities and differences in adolescence-onset versus adulthood-onset sexual abuse incidents. Child Abuse and Neglect, 46, 37-46. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.02.014
Rayment-McHugh, S., Smallbone, S. & Tilley, N. (2015). Endemic Sexual Violence and Abuse: Contexts and Dispositions. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4(2), 111-124.
McKillop, N., Smallbone, S. & Wortley, R. (2014). Predicting single victim versus multiple victim child-sex offending: An examination of distal and proximal factors associated with the first sexual offence incident. Published online before print in Journal of Sexual Aggression: An International, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2014.971892.
McKillop, N., Smallbone, S., Wortley, R. & Andjic, I. (2012). Offenders' attachment and sexual abuse onset: A test of theoretical propositions. Sexual Abuse: A journal of Research and Treatment, 24 (6), 591-610.
Researchers within the SVRPU are dedicated to preventing sexual violence and abuse. Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit research therefore aims to prevent sexual violence and abuse before it occurs in the first place. Research projects and publications focus on primary and secondary prevention; examining theoretical frameworks underpinning prevention practice, investigating prevention across diverse settings, and evaluating discrete prevention initiatives.
The following publications, authored by members of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit, contribute to the theoretical and empirical evidence-base informing prevention policy and practice.
McKillop, N., Rayment-McHugh, S., & Bojack, R. * (2020). Comparing the onset of child sexual abuse perpetration from adolescence into adulthood: Are there unique risks, and what does this mean for prevention?. Child Abuse and Neglect. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104630
Firmin, C., & Rayment-McHugh, S. (2020). Two roads, one destination: Community and organizational mechanisms for contextualizing child abuse prevention in Australia and the UK. International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice.
McKillop, N., Rayment-McHugh, S., Kaufman, K., Ransley, S., & Gardiner, M. (2020). Assessing child-safe culture and practices in organisational settings: A validation and refinement of Kaufman’s Organisational Safety Climate Survey. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 26, 1, 111-128.
McKillop, N. (2019). Understanding the nature and dimensions of child sexual abuse to inform its prevention. In I. Bryce, Y. Robinson, W. Petherick, W. Child Abuse and Neglect: Forensic issues in evidence, impact and Management. London: Elsevier.
Smallbone, S. & Rayment-McHugh, S. (2017). Sexual Crimes. In. Sidebottom, A., & Tilley, N. (Eds). Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety (2nd Edition), Chapter 20. UK: Routledge.
Smallbone, S., & McKillop, N. (2016). 'Preventing child sexual abuse: A place-based approach'. In, Mark Finnane & Yorick Smaal. (Eds). The sexual abuse of children: Recognition and redress. Monash University Press.
Rayment-McHugh, S., Adams, D., Wortley, R., & Tilley, N. (2015). ‘Think Global Act Local’: A place based approach to sexual abuse prevention. Crime Science, 4, 22.
Smallbone, S. & McKillop, N. (2015). ‘Evidence-informed approaches to preventing sexual violence and abuse’. In Donnelly, P.D. & Ward, C.L. (Eds). Oxford Textbook in Violence Prevention: Epidemiology, Evidence, and Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Scholes, L., Jones, C.M. & Nagel M. (2014) Boys and CSA Prevention: Issues Surrounding Gender and Approaches for Prevention, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11), 1-15
Stieler-Hunt, C., Jones, C.M., Rolfe B. & Pozzebon K. (2014) Examining key design decisions involved in developing a serious game for child sexual abuse prevention, Frontiers in Psychology, 5(73)
Scholes, L., Jones C.M., Stieler-Hunt, C. & Rolfe B. (2014) Serious games for learning: games-based child sexual abuse prevention in schools, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(9), 934-956
Smallbone, S. W. & Rayment-McHugh, S. (2013). Preventing Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse: Problems and Solutions in the Australian Context. Australian Psychologist, 48, 3-13.
Smallbone, S.W., Rayment-McHugh, S. & Smith, D. (2013). Preventing Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse in West Cairns and Aurukun: Establishing the scope, dimensions and dynamics of the problem. Griffith University.
When sexual violence and abuse does occur, it is crucial that responses are timely and effective, reducing harms to victims of abuse, including risk of re-victimisation, and reducing the likelihood of re-offending by perpetrators. Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit research, therefore, also targets responses to sexual violence and abuse. This includes justice system responses, treatment program evaluation, and investigating factors associated with better outcomes for victims and perpetrators.
The following publications, authored by members of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit, contribute to informing effective responses to sexual violence and abuse, including factors associated with better outcomes.
Isabella K. Damiris , Nadine McKillop , Larissa S. Christensen , Susan Rayment-McHugh , Kelley Burton & Tess Patterson (2020): Gendered judicial discourse in the sentencing of sexual offenders: a new explanatory model, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, DOI: 10.1080/10345329.2020.1837716
Brown, S. J., Khasteganan, N., Carter, G. J., Brown, K., Caswell, R. J., Howarth, E., Feder, G., & O’Doherty, L. (2020). Survivor, family and professional perspectives of psychosocial interventions for sexual abuse and violence: A qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 6. Art. No.: CD013648. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD013648/full. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD013648/full
Allen, A., Katsikitis, M., Millear, P., & McKillop, N. (2020). Psychological Interventions for Sexual Fantasies and Implications for Sexual Violence: A Systematic Review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 55, 1-8. Published Online first, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2020.101465.
Sánchez de Ribera, O., Trajtenberg, N., & Christensen, L.S. (2020). A systematic review of reviews of child sexual abuse interventions using the AMSTAR-2 quality assessment tool. Child Abuse & Neglect. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104463
Molnar, T., Allard, T., McKillop, N., & Rynne, J. (2020). Reliability and Predictive Validity of the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II in an Australian Context. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X19900978
Brown, S.J., Khasteganan N, Brown K, Hegarty K, Carter GJ, Tarzia L, Feder G, O'Doherty L (2019). Psychosocial interventions for survivors of rape and sexual assault experienced during adulthood. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD013456. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013456.
Patterson, T., Hobbs, L., McKillop,N. & Burton, K. (2019). Disparities in police proceedings and court sentencing for females versus males who commit sexual offences in New Zealand. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An International, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2019.1581281
Baker, M. & McKillop, N. (2017). ‘Offender management and rehabilitation’. In T. Prenzler (Ed). Understanding Crime Prevention: The Case Study Approach (pp. 27-44). Australian Academic Press.
Brown, S.J., Tramontano, C., McKillop, N., Smallbone, S.W. & Wortley, R. (2017). Sex offenders’ perceptions of the police influence their perceptions of the courts. Criminal Justice and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854817739043
Christensen, L.S. (2017). Victims of child sexual abuse: The psychology of victims. In W. Petherick & G. Sinnamon (Ed.), The Psychology of Criminal And Antisocial Behavior. California: Elsevier Inc.
Allard, T., Rayment-McHugh, S., Adams, D., Smallbone, S. & McKillop, N. (2016). Responding to youth sexual offending: A field-based practice model that ‘closes the gap’ on sexual recidivism among Indigenous and non-Indigenous males. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 22(1), 82-94.
Christensen, L.S., Sharman, S. & Powell, M. (2016). Identifying the characteristics of child sexual abuse cases that exit the criminal justice system before the forensic interview. Policing: An International Journal of Police Science & Management, 18, 104-111. doi: 10.1177/1461355716641973
Christensen, L. S., Sharman, S.J. & Powell, M. B. (2016). Identifying the characteristics of child sexual abuse cases associated with the child or child's parents withdrawing the complaint. Child Abuse & Neglect, 57, 53-60.
McKillop, N., Brown, S.J., Johnson, I., Smallbone, S.W. & Ogilvie, J. (2017). Can systemic interventions designed to reduce reoffending by boys also reduce their victimization? Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 10(1), 41-50.
Christensen, L.S., Sharman, S. & Powell, M. (2015). Professionals' views on child sexual abuse attrition rates. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 22, 542-558. doi:10.1080/13218719.2014.960036
McKillop, N., Brown, S., Smallbone, S. & Wortley, R. (2015). Sexual offenders’ parental and adult attachments and preference/es for therapists’ interpersonal qualities. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 22(2), 177-191.
Tilley, N., Rayment-McHugh, S., Wardell, M., Smallbone, S., Smith, D., Allard, T., Wortley, R., Findlater, D., Stewart, A. & Homel, R. (2014). On being realistic about reducing the prevalence and impacts of youth sexual violence and abuse in two Australian Indigenous communities. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts - Special Issue: Evaluation, 14, 6-27.
Smallbone, S. W., Rayment-McHugh, S. & Smith, D. (2013). Youth Sexual Offending: Context, Good-Enough Lives, and Engaging with a Wider Prevention Agenda. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 8(3-4), 49-54.
Smallbone, S.W., Crissman, B. & Rayment-McHugh, S. (2009). Improving therapeutic engagement with adolescent sexual offenders. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 27(6) 862-877.
Ronken, C. & McKillop, N. (2008). Building generations: A strengths-based, solution-focussed parenting program for program for female adult survivors of intrafamilial sexual assault. National Child Protection Clearinghouse Newsletter, 16, (2),14-16.
Smallbone, S.W., Rayment-McHugh, S., Crissman, B. & Shumack, D. (2008). Treatment with youth who have committed sexual offences: Extending the reach of clinical interventions through collaborative partnerships. Clinical Psychologist, 12(3), 109-116.