Sex Offenders and Sexual Offences

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
CRIM 3370
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course explores the topic of sexual offenders and sexual offences. Contemporary and historical theory will be critically assessed. Description and prevalence of specific sexual offences, sexual offenders, and coercive paraphilias will be addressed. The etiology of sexual offences will be discussed from sociological, psychological, biological, and multifactorial perspectives. Both sexual and nonsexual recidivism rates of sexual offenders will be compared. An overview of available sex offender risk assessment tools will be discussed and their effectiveness evaluated. Alternative measures, including community notification, available to the criminal justice system will be explored. Treatment options and the general state of sexual offender treatment are reviewed.
Course Content
  1. Overview of sexual crimes in Canada and the United States
    • Prevalence and frequency of sex crimes in Canada and the United States
    • History and current state of sex crimes legislation in Canada
      • Sexual assault
      • Sexual crimes against children
      • Other sexual offences
  2. Sexual assault:
    • Theories of sexual assault
      • Sociological
      • Psychological
      • Biological
      • Multifactorial
      • Classifications/taxonomic systems
  3. Sexual crimes against children:
    • Theories accounting for child molesters and pedophiles
      • Sociological
      • Psychological
      • Biological
      • Multifactorial
      • Classifications/taxonomic systems, including typologies and crime cycle
    • Differences between child molesters and pedophiles
  4. Other sexual offences:
    • Controversies surrounding the use of the term paraphilias
    • Controversies surrounding the diagnostic criteria of paraphilias
    • Description and characteristics of specific paraphilias
    • Prevalence and incidence of specific paraphilias
    • Diagnostic criteria of individual paraphilias
  5. Recidivism
    • Recidivism rates of specific sexual offences
    • Factors associated with recidivism
    • Sexual recidivism rates versus nonsexual recidivism rates
  6. Risk assessment tools specific to sexual offenders
    • Clinical Judgement
    • Actuarial and/or Structured Professional Judgement assessment tools
  7. Community based strategies to deal with offenders once released
    • Community notification
    • Sex offender registries
    • Civil commitment laws (United States)
    • Peace Bonds (Canada)
  8. Treatment
    • Current methods of sex offender treatment
    • Effectiveness of treatment
  9. Corrections and punishment
    • Sentencing options available to Canada and the United States
Learning Activities

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • audio visual material
  • small group discussions
  • research projects and research papers

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following:

  1. Short Answer Tests
  2. Exams
  3. Term Papers

An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

Two mid-semester exams    
25% each    
Final exam  25%
Research paper  25%
Total 100%



Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Describe the prevalence of known sex crimes in Canada and compare them to those in the United States
  2. Illustrate Canadian legislation pertaining to sexual offenders and sexual offences
  3. Identify the myths and the facts about specific sexual offenders
  4. Describe the theories currently used to explain sexual offending and sexual offenders
  5. Explain the diagnostic criteria used to identify paraphilias
  6. Analyze current controversies surrounding the diagnostic criteria used to identify paraphilias 
  7. Examine actuarial and mixed-method risk assessment tools specific to sexual offenders
  8. Illustrate recidivism rates of sex offenders as compared to other types of offenders
  9. Describe the options available to both Canada and the United States to monitor sexual offenders when released back into the community
  10. Explain the current state of sex offender treatment and its effectiveness in reducing future sex crimes

Textbook Materials

Texts will be updated periodically. Typical examples are:

  • Sexual offenses and offenders: Theory, practice and policy by Karen J. Terry. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth (latest edition).
  • Sex crimes and sex offenders: Research and realities by Donna Vandiver, Jeremy Braithwaite and Mark Stafford. New York: Routledge, (latest edition).

Custom course materials including journal articles and case analyses may also be selected by the instructor.




No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CRIM 3370
Athabasca University (AU) AU CRJS 3XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU CRIM 4900 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG CRIM 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CRIM 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HUMA 3XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO SOCI 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ELEV 2nd (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CRIM 3XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOCI 3XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023