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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Explanations of child sex abuse typically focus on the offenders’ presumed pathological dispositions that are seen to drive their offending behavior, and pay little attention to the role played by opportunity and other situational factors. It is argued in this chapter that child sexual abuse, like all behavior, is the product of a person-situation interaction and as such can be analysed using the theories and approaches of environmental criminology. Child sexual abuse is found to occur in contexts where potential victims can be easily accessed and where personal, social, situational, and legal controls over potential offenders are weak. Establishing a situational basis for child sexual abuse opens the way for the application of situational crime prevention strategies to create safer places for children.

Keywords: crime, criminal behavior, opportunity, environmental criminology, situational crime prevention, child sexual abuse, child sex offender

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