Characteristics and Treatment of Juvenile Sex Offenders

Juvenile Sex Offenders

As we enter the year 2011, some researchers have cast a side old prejudices and aversive treatment of adolescent sexually aggressive behavior to pave new path to a better understanding and effective treatment to our largest population of sex offenders; the juvenile. Judicial practices minimize adolescent sexual perpetration with ideas ofrealism such as juvenile sex offenses are rare in occurrence, less offensive and the act is experimental in nature. Conversely, adult sex offenders are publicly scorned as convicted rapists or pedophiles. As researchers we are well aware that the majority of sexual perpetrators' careers start during their adolescents. for reasons explained later and for the purposes of this paper we will assume that the juvenile sex offender has many of the same characteristics and receive the same treatments as their counterparts.


The judicial punishment of the juvenile sex offender has set the tone for public and therapeutic response. For the majority, adolescent sex offenders are considered rare, mild, experimental, and embarrassing by judges. Although this is our largest population of sex offenders, treatment plans, minimal judicial intervention, and attitudes have mirrored public and therapeutic response. The 1997-Uniform Crime Report (UCR) reported that 44% fo arrestees for rape were under the age of 25. Saunders, Kilaptrick, Resnick, Hanson & Lipovsky, (1992) found that almost 1/2 of all victims reported that their offender was under the age of 21. This substantiates the claim that juveniles are our largest population of sexual offenders in the USA. The adolescent population is a huge portion of sexual perpetrators dispelling the myth of rare occurrence. Dvis & Leitenberg (1987) and Groth (1977) address the myth that adolescent sexual perpetrators are rare, mild and experimental. The researchers found that the majority of incarcerated adult sex offenders first perpetration was during adolescents. According to the study, out of 63 subjects only 8 subjects lost their virginity during their first sex offense. This disputes the myth that adolescent sex offenders are experimenting. These authors are consistent with the findings of this paper concluding that juvenile sex offenders demonstrate the same characteristics as adult sex offenders with a better prognosis for rehabilitation.

The crime of rape is not defined by the perpetrator but by the act. Rape, in almost all cases, includes forcible intercourse, oral sex and/or anal sex. Since the juvenile sex offender shares many of the same characteristics as the adult, it is important to note the profile of a rapist. Davidson\Neale described the rapist as deliberate and intentional. The rapist has a sadistic streak and finds gratification from creating fear from within the victim. The gratification is sought primarily as a projection of fear and aggression and is often characterized by a manifestation of sexual dysfunction. The dysfunction is usually present during the rape with the non-consenting partner. This dysfunction dispels the myth that rapes are for sexual gratification. The rapist is usually married and 1/3 of all rapes are performed by one or more peer rapists. A peer rapists is a person that is involved with another rapist because of their association with the rapist. Rapists and peer rapists are antisocial and are usually abuse substance.

Female rapists exhibit a different profile from their counterparts. Their cohort is male and the offense is a gang rape on a woman or molestation of a child. Ray and English (1995) suggest the mean age of female offenders' is usually 4. The female sexual perpetrator is usually a one time offender and the offense is usually intrafamilial/incestuous. Frederich et al. (1986) suggest that female intrafamilialoffenses stemmed from internalized behaviors that are a legacy of previous sexual abuse. The victim literally becomes the rapist. If Frederich et alis accurate, then rapist/sex offenders perpetuate the cycle of sexual abuse. Therefore; in society there is no mild form of rape.

As previously stated adolescent offenders share the same characteristics as adults in that they tend to have poor social skills, low self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, lack of assertion, fear of rejection, have anger towards women, have lack of sexual knowledge and or deviant fantasies. Several other factors include history f the following problems; behavioral problems, social isolation, poor academic performance, exposure to adult models of aggression, they are dominated and intimidate and/or sexually abused. It is further noted that the environmental influences of aggressive adults and possible sexual abuse is usually unknown to the community.

Athough the purpose of this paper, juvenile and adults ex offenders are characterized and treated the same, for funding and treatment purposes it is important to note the differences. The juvenile is well adjusted and the adult sexual offender is not. There is a sufficient evidence to extrapolate that the repeated sexual offenses of adolescence correlate with an increased association with sexual deviant role models, mental health history, and antisocial behavior. Pre-intervention or an early intervention model would decease juvenile sex offenses.

When (Oliver et al 1993) compared the juvenile sex offenders against other offenders there were noticeable differences. The sex offender displays less truancy, less substance abuse and fewer temper tantrums. Although sex offenders are more pathological then other offenders, they tend to have lower prevalence of psychiatric disorders and a higher prevalence of scoring within the "well-adjusted" range on the MMPI.

Awad et al; Becker et al 1986 agreed that juvenile sex offenders were well adjusted in all other areas besides sexual behaviors. The two predominate characteristics are low social maladjustment and a probability to be classified on the Jesness Personality and behavior Inventory in range 1-4. The range 1-4 is the least severe. Because the sex offender is relatively well adjusted he/she is not easily detected. It is difficult to identify a potential perpetrators because they do not display overt behavior or have specific environmental characteristics. However, the relative good adjustment and good environmental conditions is indicative of a positive prognosis. Therefore early intervention would promote a positive treatment outcome.

Traditionally, treatment for adult sex offenders have focused on the offender's ability to maintain n age appropriate sexual relationship instead of determining the motivation ofthe offense. Anechiarico's (1990) maintains that behavior, cognitive, and psycho-educational components of therapy are beneficial but an analysis of the drive on sexual abuses are "the missing piece"(283).

According to Chorn & Parekin (1997) the epidemiology findings consistently found that juveniles account for the majority of sexual offenders world wide. They also conclude that there is no research that provides a high efficacy between reducing sex offenses and providing cognitive, behavior, and psycho-educational treatment. A conclusion of their study is that the juvenile offender usually experiences misperceptionduring separation-individualization stage of psychological development. Separation and individualization stage is when a child's focus is turned from his role with parents to his/her role without parents within the world. A child can experience separation anxiety when he/she is removed from the parent. A child can also have anxiety about their role within the world. In laymen's terms an identity crisis. These authors contend that it is the child's disfigured self perception within his/her infantile self, with or without his family that leads to the juvenile sexual perpetrator both intrafamilial and extrafamilial. The Intrafamilial, within family, offender concrete and symbolizes their need to preserve or to restore their family acceptance. Within the extra familial, outside family, offender commits sex crimes as a means to detach from their family.

The judicial system creates a judicial intervention when the offenders are young. In addition, without understanding the sex offenders motivation be intrafamilial or extrafamilial limits the possibility of successful intervention. Further more, ostracising may perhaps increase the prevalence of sexual crimes within an already unknown community. There fore it is the conclusion of this paper that juvenile sexual behavior that is identified in the community should be well scrutinized and interventions should be maximized.

Nature of this Article

This article is written to enact legislative reform when identify juvenile sex offenders and ot maximize treatments. This a a technical paper ad as susch should be judge on those merits.

Juvenile Offenders in Court

Do you believe Judges should refer Children that have sex with other childrne when there is a five year age difference?

See results without voting

Psychology of a Sex Offender

More by this Author


Comments 8 comments

ameliejan profile image

ameliejan 5 years ago from Alicante, Spain

I did not know that such a large proportion of perpetrators were juvenile, and, now I do, I agree with you that jurisdiction should be amended to treat them more appropriately / less leniently.


Jt Walters 5 years ago

It was research I conducted in graduate school. I was funded to continue the research but was pregnant and decided it was a high risk job for a Mom. But thank you, I really respect and value your comment. It is a real opportunity to limit sexual offenses world wide.


days leaper profile image

days leaper 5 years ago from england

I hope when your child/ren grow/s up, that you continue this research.

If I was not ill I might have done research in similar field of study. Look out for a blog soon, that is similar to my question. With self analysis and much study it is possible to gain insights as -

A Survivor.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi days leaper,

I am so glad you survived as many do not. I can't do field research in this area with a child. I could set up studies but there is not a lot of interest in this research because it requires early intervention in the juvenile justice system to treat and identify sex offenders as children.

I don't think there is any doubt when a 13 year old commits a sexual act on a 3 year it is predatorial sexual behavior but no one wants to take a hard look at this problem in our society.

I am glad you survived. You have more power as a survivor to lobby your representatives for lelgislation to address this real social and justice issue. As a researcher I must remain obhective. I left this research behind in 1999 and I doubt there has been any significant progress in this area of research since.

My heart bleeds for you Days Leaper. We have the ability to severely limit sexual crimes in this country and yet no one is.

Thanks for reading, commenting and providing feedback. This is a difficult subject to talk about for most people.

All My Best.

JT


Jonesy0311 profile image

Jonesy0311 5 years ago

I was honestly surprised to read that many believed the common myth that rape is conducted for sexual gratification…that’s what masturbation is for. Rape is about control and dominance. No one commits a rape to get their rocks off. They do it to gain a sense of power that they do not have in their normal lives. John Douglas drew definitive conclusions about how most serial offenders begin their deviant journey in childhood. He proposed the homicidal triad: bed-wetting, fire-setting, and cruelty to people/animals. Even by adolescence, much of the damage has been done and it is unlikely that the offender will be rehabilitated. I agree that early intervention is the best option.

Unfortunately, I think the reason that juvenile sex offense will not be recognized is simply because it remains an objective reality to the masses. There is data to support it, but no one really wants to believe that children are capable of such atrocity. Accordingly, a social issue does not become regarded as a problem until the masses perceive it to be so; making it a subjective reality. Like teen pregnancy and STD rates, most would rather turn a blind eye and live blissfully in their ignorant stew of naivety and denial. Great paper!


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida Author

What is not written in this paper but what I discovered in my research is that the triad, which is just how I refer to it, is a precursor to becoming a juvenile sex offender and then eventually onto serial killing. Unfortunately the older the sex ofender grows the more sophisticated thier behavior becomes and it make it increasingly hard to catch them.

You are right of course. This subject matter is too unpleasant for the masses. But that still doesn't mean it should not be addressed. Many things are unpleasant to the masses that are addressed.

Children can only be preyed upon for so long and if they survive it there is a high chance they will become predators themselves especially since very limited therapies have been introduced and no one is really conducting research into this field.

Thank you for appreciating my work. It is a great compliment coming for you as you are perhaps one of the first people I have known outside of those who were going into the FBI who even knew who John Douglas was. So thank you for reading and thank you for the compliment.

All My Best,

JT


HubTub profile image

HubTub 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

I have never heard the term 'peer rapists' before - scary and disturbing but makes sense. It is sad that so many juveniles have ruined their lives at such a young age. We can only hope they, like others, can receive the help they deserve before it is too late.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi HubTub,

We could eliminate 75% of all sexual crime including serial killing if we took an early intervention model in the juvenile justice system. Tough on sexual crime when juveniles are young would provide a preventative model for all adult sex crimes as well as serial killings by 75%. That would be a huge reduction in violent crime rates. We just need bold enough politicians to take this position and stick to it.

I am glad you enjoyed the article.

Cheers!!

JT

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working