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Etiology and Typologies of Juveniles Who Have Committed Sexual Offenses

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2015
6 pages
This Research Brief addresses the causes and origins of juvenile sexual offending and the pathways related to the development, onset, and maintenance of sexually abusive behavior in this population.
It also examines classification schemes or typologies for juveniles who commit sexual offenses, based on types of offenders or victims and offense characteristics. This research-based information is intended to provide the foundation for designing and implementing cost-effective treatment programming and supervision protocols that reflect individualized risks and needs. The summary of research findings on etiology addresses the offender's own sexual victimization that underlies the victim/offender's subsequent sexually abusive behaviors; the link between sexual victimization and personality variables; exposure to pornography; and multiple types of child maltreatment that lead to sexual offenses by juveniles. The brief's section on juvenile sexual offender typologies discusses subtypes based on victim age, delinquent history, both victim age and delinquent history, and victim age and personality characteristics. The brief concludes that although etiological and typological research on juvenile sexual offenders has produced mixed results and less than definitive findings, it still provides important insights regarding the pathways to sexual offending, typological characteristics, and associated treatment targets. The research has consistently shown that juvenile sexual offenders are a heterogeneous population in terms of etiological pathways, offending patterns, delinquent history, personality characteristics, and clinical presentation, as well as risk for sexual and non-sexual recidivism. This suggests tailoring treatment and intervention to each juvenile's risk for recidivism and diagnosed needs underlying the offending behavior. 22 references

Date Published: July 1, 2015