Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp791-sebu-461976 April 6, 2003 13:12 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 15, No. 3, July 2003 (
Sexual Assaults During Hostage Takings and
Forcible Conﬁnements: Implications for Practice
Donna L. Mailloux
and Ralph C. Serin
Hostage takings and forcible conﬁnements are rare phenomena within our
Canadian institutions. However, when they occur they cause enormous psycho-
logical and/or physical harm. A review of the literature revealed that no previous
research on hostage takings or forcible conﬁnements in a prison setting has been
published. This investigation reviewed 33 hostage-takings/forcible-conﬁnements
spanning 11 years. The incidents were classiﬁed as follows: 20 hostage takings
(3 with sexual assault) and 13 forcible conﬁnements (7 with sexual assault). Sex-
ual assaults were always against women and 36.6% of the women were sexually
assaulted. This is a violent group of offenders with a prior history of sexual and
nonsexual violence as well as escapes. While a quarter of the perpetrators had a
forcible conﬁnement or hostage taking in their current conviction, half had a prior
history of such incidents. Rapists were overwhelmingly implicated in incidents that
resulted in a sexual assault. Most perpetrators were below the age of 30 and serv-
ing sentences of less than 10 years in medium- or maximum-security institutions.
The perpetrators of these incidents are not necessarily different from the general
population of offenders in terms of their dynamic needs. Although this research
is primarily descriptive in nature, it offers a unique contribution to the ﬁeld by
providing the ﬁrst comprehensive description of this group of perpetrators. These
ﬁndings are discussed in terms of their relevance to policy, operational practices,
and the development of screening instruments.
KEY WORDS: hostages; sex offenders; forcible conﬁnement; sexual assaults.
Service of Canada.
Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Correctional Service of Canada, Research Branch,
340 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0P9; e-mail: email@example.com.
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation