Working Paper

Understanding the Relationship Between Parenting Styles and the Risk of Sexual Violence Offending and Victimisation

Published: 2024

Despite the relationship between parenting behaviour and children’s life course outcomes being strongly established within the literature, there is limited research concerning its impact on the risk of sexual violence offending and victimisation. The existing research concerning this relationship lacks a consistent framework and terminology, thereby creating issues when comparing findings and drawing conclusions. The following research paper aims to apply Baumrind’s (1971) and Maccoby and Martin’s (1983) parenting style typology to the sexual violence context to explore the nature of this relationship, while establishing an easily replicable structure of understanding this relationship.

The research revealed that authoritative parenting (a balance of demandingness and responsiveness) acted as a protective factor for both victimisation and offending. Non-authoritative parenting styles acted as a risk factor for victimisation and offending. However, the strength of this relationship differed across different types of sexual violence behaviours. Furthermore, parent and child gender played a significant role in determining the nature of the relationship. Further research into this phenomenon is recommended to explore the nuances of this relationship.

The research findings suggest prevention programs and support services should consider family dynamics when drafting interventions for vulnerable persons. The research stresses the importance of education programs for expecting parents which explain the potential consequences (both positive and negative) of their parenting behaviours. Furthermore, the current study contributes to discourse about the intergenerational transmission of sexual violence, by highlighting the means through which sexual violence victimisation and offending is transferred from parent to child (Avery et al., 2002; Zuravin, et al., 1996).


Madison Lloyd


Lloyd, M. (2024). ‘Understanding the Relationship Between Parenting Styles and the Risk of Sexual Violence Offending and Victimisation’, Life Course Centre Working Paper Series, 2024-12. Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland. DOI: 10.14264/49a8a95