Zoophilia and the law: Legal responses to a rare paraphilia

Brian Holoyda, William Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although societies' responses to bestiality have varied internationally, the response in the United States has typically involved condemnation and prosecution. Currently, there are 31 states with statutes prohibiting human– animal sexual contact. Despite the prevalence of antibestiality legislation, there is limited case law in the United States. Most commonly, bestiality arises in legal cases involving sexually violent predator (SVP) civil commitments. Identifying offenders who commit acts of bestiality is important, since these individuals may be at increased risk of committing a variety of other sexually and nonsexually violent acts against humans. Because of the different laws among the states, however, commonly used forensic risk assessment tools for sexual recidivism can yield different scores for individuals charged with or convicted of bestiality offenses. Forensic evaluators should consider this factor when conducting risk assessments. State legislatures should also consider modernizing their bestiality statutes to accord with current terminology and objectives for such laws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Volume42
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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