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Juvenile Sexual Offenders - Guidelines for Assessment

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: (1981) Pages: 31-39
A N Groth; C M Loredo
Date Published
9 pages
Observations and guidelines derived from clinical experience point to ways for evaluating the juvenile sexual offender.
Typically, the juvenile sexual offender comes to the attention of the clinician only after having first come to the attention of someone else. The major task at referral is to determine to what extent the behavior is situationally determined and to what degree it is symptomatic in nature (i.e., to differentiate normative sexual activity which is situationally determined from inappropriate, solitary sexual activity of a nonaggressive nature and from sexually assaultive behavior that poses some risk of harm to another person). Eight basic issues need to be carefully assessed: the age relationship of victim and offender, the social relationship, the type of sexual activity exhibited, how the sexual contact takes place, the persistence of the activity, evidence of progression in regard to nature or frequency of the activity, the nature of the juveniles' fantasies prior to or accompanying the behavior, and distinguishing victim characteristics. The behavior must also be examined in regard to the offenders' personality development and past and in the context of their current lives, as well as with respect to retardation, drugs, mental illness, etc. Such careful psychological assessment by schools, courts, clinics, and other related agencies can lead to a better understanding of juvenile sexual offenders. Seven references and a number of brief case histories are presented.