Over the last two decades, the problem of sexual offending has received widespread public, media and political attention. In fact, Sampson (1994: xi) argued that ‘public concern about sexual crime has become panic’. Media reporting has created the image that there has been a dramatic increase in sexual crime and that women and children face a constant and continued threat of attack. Sexual offenders are despised perhaps more than any other type of offender; so much so, that:

The equation of sexual offender and monster is now firmly part of the public psyche. ‘Monster’ and ‘beast’ are common euphemisms for sex offenders in the prison system.