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Juvenile Sex Offenders Compared to Non-Sex Offenders: A Review of the Literature 1995-2005

NCJ Number
Trauma, Violence, & Abuse: A Review Journal Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2006 Pages: 227-243
Anton Van Wijk; Robert Vermeiren; Rolf Loeber; Lisette 'T Hart-Kerkoffs; Theo Doreleijers; Ruud Bullens
Date Published
October 2006
17 pages
This paper reviews studies published between 1995 and 2005 comparing sex offenders with non-sex offenders in order to analyze the extent to which juvenile sex offenders resemble non-sex offenders with respect to individual, familial, and environmental characteristics.
The findings from this literature review suggest that sex offenders are more likely to display internalizing problems than are non-sex offenders. However, these characteristics may prevail in a specific subgroup of sex offenders, specifically child molesters. A considerable number of the sex offenders showed a history of non-sex offending, although the rate of non-sex offending was lower than in non-sex offenders. Sex offenders may exhibit more problems in peer relationships than non-sex offenders. However, this is based on a small number of studies. A consistent finding across studies was that juvenile sex offenders were more often sexually abused in their childhood than were non-sex offenders. However, not all juvenile sex offenders have a history of sexual abuse, and not all sexually abused children become offenders. With regard to the demographic factors, inconsistent results were found when comparing the age of both groups. With regard to intellectual and neurological function, inconsistent results appeared. The review found the family characteristics of sex offenders and non-sex offenders were difficult to compare. Additional inconsistent results were found when comparing antisocial attitudes. On the basis of the current literature, clear and consistent conclusions regarding similarities and differences between sex offenders and non-sex offenders cannot be drawn. An unresolved issue in the literature on juvenile delinquency is to what extent juvenile sex offenders resemble non-sex offenders with respect to various characteristics: individual, familial, and environmental. This paper reviews 17 articles published between 1995 and 2005 comparing both groups on a wide range of characteristics. Tables and references