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Incest Offender: An Overview and Introduction (From Incest Perpetrator: A Family Member No One Wants To Treat, P 19-28, 1990, Anne L. Horton, Barry L. Johnson, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-121328)

NCJ Number
J R Conte
Date Published
10 pages
Incest offenders are discussed in terms of their characteristics, assumptions underlying their treatment, problems involved in their treatment, and policy issues.
Contrary to the popular view, children are more likely to be sexually-abused by members of their own families and by acquaintances than by strangers. In addition, anxieties created in the public and in professionals have resulted in a professional literature and social policy that are ambivalent, contradictory, and potentially dangerous. In addition, many currently accepted concepts about incestuous offenders are actually untested theories and should be viewed cautiously. Thus, clinicians should assess all offenders regarding the extent to which the following factors are present: denial, sexual arousal, sexual fantasies, cognitive distortions, deficits in social skills, and other mental health problems. They should also recognize the unique treatment issues resulting from the fact that the victim and offender live in the same household. Finally, policy decisions should reflect the view that society is best served if the incest offender stops having sex with children, helps bear the consequences of the behavior, enters and remains in treatment, and supports the treatment of the victims. 13 references.