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Juveniles Who Have Sexually Offended: A Review of the Professional Literature

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2001
86 pages
The literature on juvenile sex offenders is reviewed to provide a comprehensive and annotated account of the characteristics of juveniles who commit sex offenses and their families.
Sex offenses committed by juveniles represent a serious problem. Nearly 16 percent of arrests for forcible rape and 17 percent of arrests for all other sex offenses in 1995 involved young people under 18 years of age. Costs of sex offenses are substantial for victims, offenders and their families, and society as a whole. To minimize these costs, timely and appropriate interventions are needed. The literature review suggests, however, that programs designed to meet the needs of juvenile sex offenders frequently apply knowledge and interventions designed for adult offenders without considering the unique developmental issues and needs of juveniles. The literature review is organized as follows: (1) characteristics of juveniles who have committed sex offenses--offending behaviors, child maltreatment histories, social and interpersonal skills and relationships, sexual knowledge and experiences, academic and cognitive functioning, and mental health issues; (2) types and classifications of juvenile sex offenders--sibling incest, male and female juvenile sex offenders, young children who have committed sex offenses, juveniles with developmental disabilities and retardation who have committed sex offenses, and juveniles who have committed sex offenses versus other offense types; (3) clinical and risk assessments; and (4) treatment--continuum of care models, treatment approaches, treatment efficacy, treatment settings, and special populations. 126 references and 3 tables

Date Published: March 1, 2001