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J Forensic Sci. 2006 Jan;51(1):163-7.

Juvenile sex offenders: a complex population.

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University of Massachusetts Medical School Correctional Mental Health Program, Bridgewater State Hospital, Bridgewater, MA 02324, USA.


Individuals who engage in sexual offending behavior represent a heterogeneous population. Recent research has found some success in categorizing sexual offenders based on a number of variables, particularly the type of victim. For example, differences have been found between those offenders who victimize adults when compared with those who victimize children. However, the research in this area has been conducted predominantly with adult samples. As the adult sex offender literature has progressed, it has become evident that risk assessment, treatment effectiveness, and risk management are dependent on such offender characteristics. Unfortunately, the relevance to juveniles of characteristics deemed to be important with adult sex offenders is limited due to the complexity of developmental processes, particularly with respect to mental disorders and personality formation. As such, the formulation and implementation of treatment and risk management strategies that will be effective with juvenile sex offenders are challenging. The goal of this paper is to review some of the complexities inherent in the juvenile sex offender population by focusing on specific areas of complication, including: classification systems, comorbid paraphilias and other mental illnesses, and maladaptive personality traits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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