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Addressing Sexual Violence Against Youth in Custody: Youth Workers' Handbook on Identifying and Addressing Sexual Violence in Juvenile Justice Settings

NCJ Number
Brenda V. Smith, J.D.; Jaime M. Yarussi, M.S.
Date Published
February 2013
78 pages
Based on a training curriculum produced by the Project on Addressing Prison Rape, this handbook instructs youth workers in identifying and addressing sexual abuse in juvenile justice settings.
The training has six objectives. First, it explains why juvenile justice professionals should be concerned about the sexual abuse of youth in custody. Second, it examines how culture and environment contribute to the sexual abuse of youth in custody. Third, it provides juvenile corrections staff with tools that assist them in identifying, addressing, and responding to the sexual abuse of youth in custody. Fourth, it instructs staff n how to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of youth in custody. Fifth, it provides legal tools for prosecuting the sexual abuse of youth in custody. Sixth, it recommends preventive measures for juvenile justice agencies. After outlining the variety of correctional settings in which juveniles may be sexually abused, the handbook defines what constitutes the staff of juvenile justice agencies. The handbook then describes the features of the sexual abuse of youth in custody, followed by an explanation of how the provisions of the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act apply to juvenile correctional settings. The prevalence of youth-on-youth sexual abuse and staff sexual misconduct is reviewed using Federal statistics. Instruction is then provided on the role of adolescent development in preventing sexual abuse. The nature and effect of the culture of youth facilities and its influence on the sexual behavior of youth and staff is then explained. Other topics addressed in the training are inappropriate staff-on-youth and youth-on-youth relationships, medical and mental health care for victims, the investigation of sexual abuse of youth in custody, the rights of staff when an allegation of staff sexual misconduct is made, legal liability and sanctions for the sexual abuse of youth in custody, and prevention strategies. An extensive listing of a variety of resources