4AGENDA AND FORMAT DIDATIC AND EXPERIENTIAL GOALS- specific and general DEFINITIONSPUBLIC POLICYTREATMENT ISSUESCASE STUDIES
5GENERAL GOALS-we are almost there STAY AWAKEINTERACTINTERGRATE INFORMATIONLEARN SOMETHING NEWBRAINSTORMINGCASE STUDY
6SPECIFIC GOALS Identify children who offend Identify treatment modalitiesIdentify public policy
7An American Travesty: Legal Responses to Adolescent Sexual Offending John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationResearch Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile JusticeAdolescent Development and Legal Policy Monograph SeriesFranklin E. ZimringFor more information on the MacArthur Foundation ResearchNetwork on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, visitour website at or contact Marnia Davis, Administrator,at
8Children who offendDuring the 1990’s, all 50 states enacted new laws aimed largely at protecting children against sexual predators.Under many of these laws, adult sexual offenders are regarded as more dangerous—and controlled more severely—if their victims are very young.This seems rational when dealing with adults who prey on young children.But in enacting laws aimed at adult sexual predators, legislators whether deliberately or thoughtlessly, often used language broad enough to encompass offenders in early adolescence.Should a child or young adolescent who commits a single act of sexual aggression against another child be treated the same way as a 30-year-old man who assaults an 8-year-oldgirl?Legal scholar Franklin Zimring calls THIS ‘a travesty of justice’—a policy that ignores the developmental stage young sex offenders in determining their legal fate.
9AN OVERRIDING ISSUE CHILDREN ARE NOT SMALL ADULTS CHILDREN WHO ARE SEX OFFENDERS ARE NOT SMALL ADULT OFFENDERSCHILDREN WHO OFFEND ARE CHILDREN
10SPECIAL AND OBVIOUS PYSCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT IMMATURITYREASONINGPUBERTYEXPERIMENTATION
11BRAINSTORMING-DIANA REPKE Normal sexual developmentDeviant sexual development
12Topics in Sex- Offender Treatment ISSUES FOR ALL ADOLESCENTSISSUES OF SPECIAL CONCERN FOR DELIQUENTSISSUES OF SPECIAL CONCERN FOR SEX OFFENDERS
13MORE TRUE THAN EVER— NOT JUST SMALL ADULTS Adolescents are not merely younger versions of adults.Adolescence is a period of transition, both sexually and behaviorally, and sexual misconduct among juveniles is both morevaried and more complicated than among adults.
14TYPES OF OFFENDERSSome empirical evidence distinguishes three types of juvenile sex offenders:STATUS OFFENDERSFIRST OFFENDERSREPEAT OFFENDERS
15STATUS OFFENDERSThese are children and teens whose sexual behavior is consensual and with partners close to their age; it is unlawful only because they or their partners are under the age of consent. While this is illegal on the books, millions of teens violate such laws every year. Theyare seldom prosecuted except in institutional settings such as group homes—a double standard with potentially lifelong legal consequences.
16FIRST OFFENDERSFirst offenders involved in abusive conduct. The majority of juveniles arrested for sex offenses are those who are much older than their partners or who have used force or coercion. The re-arrest rate for this group is quite low, however, and currently unpredictable: tests used by researchers to identify individuals at risk for recidivism have a false positive rate of more than 80 percent when used with adolescents.
17REPEAT OFFENDERSRepeat offenders. Perhaps 4 to 8 percent of juveniles arrested for sex crimes fall into this category. Some may become dangerous adult sexual predators, while others may outgrow the problem before they become adults. It’s impossible to say who or how many fall into either group because no research exists on the number of repeat offenders or their later careers.
18A classification system Another classification system for problematic sexual behaviors in children has been proposed which delineates three levels of disturbance: precocious, inappropriate, and coercive sexual behaviors (Berliner, Manaois, & Monastersky, 1986). These three levels are described below:
19PrecociousPrecocious sexual behavior involves behaviors such as oral-genital contact or intercourse between pre-adolescents with no evidence of force or coercion. This behavior may be a temporary, unsocialized response to victimization or a response to exposure to sexually explicit behavior. It may cease upon disclosure, increased supervision, or therapeutic intervention. These children should have further assessment to determine the necessity and level of appropriate intervention.
20InappropriateInappropriate sexual behavior includes persistent and/or public masturbation, excessive interest or preoccupation with sexual matters, and highly sexualized behavior or play. These children may be in the incipient process of developing a deviant sexual arousal pattern. Intervention for these children would depend on the frequency, persistence, and consequences of the behavior.
21CoerciveCoercive sexual behavior refers to sexual acts in which force is used or threatened, or where a significant disparity in development or size exists. These children may engage in sexually aggressive behavior in conjunction with other antisocial activity. The sexual behavior may be more reflective of anger and hostility than a search for gratification. Children with coercive sexual behavior are seen as requiring immediate, intensive intervention.
23Sexually ReactiveSexual behaviors are often done in view of adults and may be frequentMany of the behaviors are self-stimulating and may be directed toward adultsCoerces other children, though the other children may dislike or be bothered by the behavior; no threats; no attempt to hurtOften represents a partial form of reenactment of sexual abuse the child has sustained; may be the child's way of trying to understandShame, guilt, anxiety, and fear may be related to the upsurge or aftermath of the sexual behaviors
24Extensive Mutual Sexual Behaviors Sexual behaviors are extensive and often habitualFind willing partners who will engage with them and avoid detection by parents/caretakersOften distrustful; chronically hurt and abandoned by adults; relate best to other childrenMay or may not experience sexual pleasureSexual behaviors are a way of coping with feelings of abandonment, loss, and fear
25Children Who Molest Sexual behaviors are frequent and pervasive Intense sexual confusion is a hallmark of their thinkingSexuality and aggression are closely linkedUse some kind of coercion to gain participation (bribery, trickery, etc.)Impulsive, compulsive, aggressive quality to many of their behaviors, including sexual behaviorsProblems in all areas of their livesAdapted from: Johnson, T. C. (1989). Human sexuality: Curriculum for parents and children in troubled families. Los Angeles, CA: Children's Institute International.
26An image breeds an industry Adult sex offenders—especially those who use force and those who prey on children—are viewed by the public with special outrage and fear.Even professionals consider many of them a breed apart from other criminals, with very particular characteristics:fixed, abnormal sexual proclivities;a focus on sex offenses to the exclusion of other crimes;at high risk of repeating their offenses.
27IMAGE TRANSFERIt is this image, controversial but widely held, that underlies Megan's Laws and related policy. Jimmy Ryce in Florida.This pathological image has now been extended to adolescent offenders as well, giving rise not only to new laws but to an industry of specialized treatment programs for sexually abusive youth.While juvenile sex-offense arrests have remained remarkably stable over the past two decades or more, the number of treatment programs has mushroomed: from 20 in 1982 to several hundred today.
29SimilaritiesWe do know that nine of ten juvenile sex offenders are male (Fehrenbach et al.; Johnson, 1988; Berliner, 1995), and that juvenile sex offenders often commit their first sexual offense before age 15 and even before age 12. We also know that juvenile sex offenders are found in every socioeconomic class and every racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural group.Children who sexually abuse are far more likely than the general population to have been physically, sexually, or otherwise abused. Studies indicate that between 40% and 80% of sexually abusive youth have themselves been sexually abused, and that 20% to 50% have been physically abused (CSOM, 1999).
30SimilaritiesAccording to the Center for Sex Offender Management (1999) the following are other common traits among juvenile sex offenders.• Difficulties with impulse control and judgment• High rates of learning disabilities and academic dysfunction (30% to 60%)• Mental illness: up to 80% have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder
31SimilaritiesSome professionals believe a history of victimization is virtually universal among juvenile sex offenders. Experienced therapist Robert Longo writes, “As I think back to the thousands of sex offenders I have interviewed and the hundreds I have treated, I cannot think of many cases in which a patient didn’t have some history of abuse, neglect, family dysfunction, or some form of maltreatment within his or her history” (Longo, 2001).
32SimilaritiesA minority of sexually abusive youth also have deviant sexual arousal and interest patterns. “These arousal and interest patterns are recurrent and intense, and relate directly to the nature of the sexual behavior problem (e.g., sexual arousal to young children)” (CSOM, 1999).
33WANTED: GOOD RESEARCH Measure the real risk of recidivism Uncover the determinants of future dangerPut treatments to the test.
34WANTED: GOOD PUBLIC POLICY Division of responsibility in the juvenile justice system.Decriminalization of non-predatory peer sex.No prediction of dangerousness for first offenders.Careful procedures for predicting pathology and danger in repeat sex offenders.
35Clinical Treatment and Programming for Juvenile Sex Offenders Hunter, J.A. (2000). Understanding juvenile sex offenders: research findings & guidelines for effective management & treatment. Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet. Charlottesville, VA: Institute of Law, Psychiatry, & Public Policy, University of Virginia.
39Treatment issuesPlease cite this fact sheet as follows: Hunter, J.A. (2000). Understanding juvenile sex offenders: research findings & guidelines for effective management & treatment. Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet. Charlottesville, VA: Institute of Law, Psychiatry, & Public Policy, University of Virginia.
40Clinical programming for juvenile sex offenders typically includes a combination of individual, group, and family therapies. Additionally, many programs offer supportive psycho educational groups to the families of these youths. Youths who display more extensive psychiatric or behavioral problems (e.g., substance abuse) may require additional adjunctive therapies (e.g., drug/alcohol treatment; psychiatric care, etc.). All therapies provided to the youth should be carefully coordinated within the treatment agency and with external agencies providing case management and oversight.
41The establishment of positive self-esteem and pride in one's cultural heritage. The teaching and clarification of values as they relate to a respect for self and others, and a commitment to stop interpersonal violence. Maximally effective programming may include promoting a sense of healthy masculine identity, egalitarian male-female relationships, and a respect for cultural diversity.The provision of sex education and an understanding of healthy human sexuality, and the correction of distorted beliefs about appropriate sexual behavior.The enhancement of social skills to promote greater self-confidence and social competency.
42The teaching of the impulse control and coping skills needed to successfully manage sexual and aggressive impulses.The teaching of assertiveness skills and conflict resolution to manage anger and resolve interpersonal disputes.The provision of programming designed to enhance empathy and promote a greater appreciation for the negative impact of sexual abuse on victims and their families
43The teaching of relapse prevention The teaching of relapse prevention. This includes teaching offenders to understand the cycle of thoughts, feelings, and events that can trigger sexual acting-out, identify environmental circumstances and thinking patterns that should be avoided because they increase the risk of re-offending, and identify and practice coping and self-control skills necessary for successful behavior management
44Although available data do not suggest that the majority of juvenile sex offenders are destined to become adult sex offenders, legal and mental health intervention is believed, by professionals, to be important in deterring a continuation of such behavior. The most effective intervention is believed to consist of a combination of legal sanctions, monitoring, and specialized clinical programming. Programs reflecting the collaborative efforts of juvenile justice and mental health professions generally report low sexual recidivism rates
45AWARENESS OF OTHER ISSUES Juveniles account for a significant percentage of the sexual assaults against children and women in our society. The onset of sexual behavior problems in juveniles appears to be linked to a number of factors, including child maltreatment and exposure to violence and pornography. Emerging research suggests that, as in the case of adult sex offenders, that a meaningful distinction can be made between juveniles who target peers or adults, and those who offend against children. The former group appears generally to be more anti-social and violent, although considerable heterogeneity exists within each population
48Various Theories Psychosis Theories Physiological Theories Family System TheoriesLearning TheoriesDevelopmental TheoriesCognitive TheoriesSexual Assault TheoriesIntegrative Theories
49Practice Implications Take juvenile offenses seriously.Respect confidentiality, but make safety a priority.Get good supervision.Maintain clear, consistent boundaries with offenders. Be a role model by asking before you touch others. Be wary of “grooming” behaviors.Attend training and learn all you can about juvenile sex offense.Consider the safety of all involved before placing an offender with a family or group home.