Temporal Order of Sexual Offending Is Risk-Relevant for Individuals With Child Sexual Exploitation Materials Offences


  • Kelly M. Babchishin Orcid
  • Seung C. Lee Orcid
  • Angela W. Eke
  • Michael C. Seto Orcid


The current study examined the extent to which the temporal order of sexual offending may be risk-relevant for men with Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM; also referred to as child pornography) offences. We categorized 85 men who had committed two distinct sexual offences (CSEM or contact sexual offence) into three groups: (1) 47% (n = 40) followed a stable pattern, that is, men with CSEM offences who then committed a new CSEM offence; (2) 41% (n = 35) followed a de-escalation pattern, that is, men with contact sexual offences who then committed a CSEM offence; (3) and 12% (n = 10) followed an escalation pattern, that is, men with CSEM offences who then committed a contact sexual offence. Compared to the other groups, the stable group had more sexual interest in children, the de-escalation group had a younger age at first police involvement and more prior offending, and the escalation group had more substance use problems. We then examined recidivism (any new offence after the second sexual offence) and found that the escalation group had the highest 5-year and 7-year reoffending rates (start of follow-up: opportunity after the second sexual offence) for any crime, any non-sexual violence, any violence (including contact sexual offences), and any contact sexual recidivism. The de-escalation and stable groups had the highest CSEM recidivism rates. The current study suggests that ordering of offending within men adjudicated for CSEM offences is risk-relevant and that those who fit the escalation pattern may be at higher risk to reoffend.