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Sex Offenders and Sexual Offences

Course Code: CRIM 3370
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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

Methods of Instruction

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

course prerequisites

CRIM 1150

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.