Research and Treatment of Juvenile Sexual offending from a Policy Point of View
Essay Preview: Research and Treatment of Juvenile Sexual offending from a Policy Point of View
Report this essay
Research and Treatment of Juvenile Sexual Offending
From a Policy Point of View
Yvonne K. Ray
A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements of
HS8101 Social Change and Public Policy
191 Sidney Street
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
Dr. Timothy Emerick
This paper is a review of previous research conducted on juvenile sexual offending. This paper presents information concerning the research of juvenile sexual offending and the treatments available as well as recidivism. One study by Geradin and Thibaut (2004) found that in the United States, juveniles account for up to one fifth of all rapes and one half of all child molestation committed each year. The number of programs for the treatment of sexually abusive youth has increased from twenty in 1983 to over 800 in 1993. (Geradin & Thibaut, 2004)
Most times when professionals review this topic, they only produce information about male offenders. Although there is not a lot about female offending, there is enough to compare the two.
Since the enactment of Megans Law in 1996, each state is required to implement sex and child offender registration with community notification legislation in order to receive ten percent of federal anticrime funds.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Research and Treatment of Juvenile Sexual Offending
Sex is everywhere today. Americans see it while channel surfing, flipping through magazines, or even on roadside billboards. Although, sex has come to define American culture, Americans still are not comfortable with speaking openly about sexuality. As early as colonial times, Christianity began to form the intellectual and social environment to perceive sex. In Colonial America, any sex outside of marriage was subject to sanction. Purification of the family and community was seen as an important goal and individuals who participated in unacceptable sexual practices were not tolerated nor accepted by society. This attitude accounted for the use of capital punishment for crimes such as forced rape and sodomy. Todays sex offender faces a unique paradox; one hand holds the fact that Americans embrace sex, but on the other hand, condemn unacceptable sexual relations.
Until the 1980s, adolescent sex offenders received little attention from professionals within the criminal justice field. Most professionals explained their behavior as a normal experimentation or curiosity. Societys attention was focused primarily on adult offenders. Today, juvenile sexual offenders are increasingly recognized as troubled and in great need of special intervention. Sapp & Vaughn (1990) have found an overlap among backgrounds of juvenile male sexual offenders such as delinquency, abusive or neglectful families, and social isolation. This exploratory study provides a basis from which to begin more research in this area. There is a great need for further research in understanding the growing problem of juvenile sexual offending.
At this time, many programs (Gerardin & Thibaut, 2004) across the nation are refining a more developmental and contextual understanding of sexual youths. The juvenile field has relied heavily on the sexual abuse cycle as a formidable pattern. Offense-specific interventions focus on the pattern of fantasy, planning, victim selection, grooming, access and opportunity, sexual arousal and reinforcement, distortions and rationalizations, decision-making, secrecy and denial. Preventative interventions focus on defusing affective triggers, increasing developmental competence, and increasing safety in relationships. Gerardin & Thibaut (2004) have separated youths who engage in sexually abusive behavior into three categories: 1. Those who commit one or few sexual offenses during childhood but would discontinue the behavior without professional intervention. 2. Those who begin the behavior as juveniles and are at risk to continue the behavior throughout his or her life span unless specific intervention to correct it. 3. Those who continue to be at high risk to offend despite any intervention currently available (of this group some may offend less often because of treatment).
“For over one hundred years, the American Criminal Justice System has recognized that juveniles are different from adults and should