Understanding female perpetrated child sexual abuse in organisational contexts

Research Institution / Organisation

Durham University

Principal Researcher

Andrea J Darling

Level of Research


Project Start Date

October 2014

Research Context

​This doctoral research extends from an MSc in Criminology and explores the issue of females who sexually abuse children in organisational contexts; how and why this occurs, the results and consequences (with regard to criminal justice, child protection and employment regulation systems) and the impacts on victims.


This specific type of abuse appears generally unrecognised and under-reported and the hope is that this research can raise awareness of the reality of female perpetrated child sexual abuse and educate those involved in employing women in positions of trust as well as other professionals, parents and carers to improve responses and outcomes for victims.

Research Methodology

  • ​Qualitative research involving key informant/expert interviews(10-20), court and regulatory body case data (secondary analysis), media report analysis and case studies (10);
  • Thematic analysis and media content analysis will be used as key methods of analysis;
  • Cases will be compared with Descriptive Model of Female Sexual Offending (Gannon et al) as well as situational crime prevention frameworks.

Interim reports and publications

Darling, A. J., & Antonopoulos, G. A. (2013). ‘Notes on a Scandal’ Why do Females Engage in Abuse of Trust Behaviours?. International Journal of Criminology and Sociology 2: 525-537.

Date due for completion

November 2018
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