Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Amy L. Anderson


Researchers have suggested that there is a code of denial associated with sex offenders that are female. Sexual victimizations by women may go unnoticed or unreported if there is a general lack of awareness that females commit these crimes. This thesis used data from the 2012 Nebraska Annual Social Indicators Survey to examine two primary questions. First, does the public think females are capable of sexually offending? Second, what are the causes attributed to female sex offenders by the public? Researchers, media, and politicians have primarily focused on male sex offenders and existing gender stereotypes held by the public introduce the possibility of sex differences in perceptions of female sex offenders. As a result, two secondary questions are also examined. Specifically, I tested for sex differences in both the public’s perception of whether females can commit sex offenses and the explanations given for why females sexually offend. Public perceptions of sex offenders can affect recognition of offending and reporting, which limits our knowledge concerning the scope of childhood sexual abuse and the harm associated with victimization.


Presented to the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree Masters of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha By Calli M. Cain July, 2013.

UMI 1543055 Published by ProQuest LLC (2013). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author.