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Towards a better understanding of incest: A review of sibling and father-daughter incest

Kelly Babchishin

Abuse committed by family members against family members is not rare. A large scale survey of 11-17 year olds (N=2,275) found that 32% report some form of sibling abuse and 22% report some form of abuse by parents (NSPCC, 2017). Although much less common than physical abuse, sexual offences committed by family members against family members occur, and some studies suggest that related victims are especially prevalent among children and adolescents charged with sexual offences. In this plenary, I will review the findings of recent large scale online surveys and meta-analyses to answer four questions: (1) What is the prevalence of sexual behaviours between siblings and what proportion can be considered coercive sibling incest? (2) What is the prevalence of father-daughter incest? (3) how are incest offenders different from extrafamilial sex offenders? and (4) what are the correlates of sibling and father-daughter incest? The cross-cultural differences in incestuous behaviour between siblings and fathers will also be discussed. Special focus will be given to elements in the family environment that either promote or protect against incest. 



Kelly M. Babchishin, Ph.D. is a Research Advisor for the Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch Research Division of Public Safety Canada and holds adjunct professorships with the University of Ottawa (School of Psychology) and Carleton University (Department of Psychology) as well as is an adjunct scientist with the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Mental Health Research. Kelly is an action editor for Sexual Abuse, associate editor of Nextgenforensic, and the Director of Research Development for the International Workgroup on Best Practice in the Management of Online Sex Offending. Her current research involves identifying causal candidates for the onset and maintenance of sexual offending behavior, including special population such as incest offenders and online sexual offenders. Other research interests include change in sexual offending behavior across the lifespan and risk assessment.