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Improving the Legal Response to Juvenile Sex Offenders

NCJ Number
Children's Legal Rights Journal Volume: 8 Issue: 4 Dated: (Fall 1987) Pages: 15-20
H A Davidson
Date Published
6 pages
Several legislative and legal policy improvements are needed to address the problem of sexually assaultive behavior by juveniles, who form a substantial proportion of sex offenders.
Improvements should take place in four areas: case identification and referral, recordkeeping and access, judicial intervention options, and multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment. Laws and policies should rest on the recognition that these offenders are more likely to have contact with their victims as family members or caretakers rather than as neighbors or strangers. Reporting laws should also make it clear that the law applies to sexual abuse by juveniles. Policies are also needed on when juvenile court records should be sought and when access to them should be granted. Specialized juvenile procedures are also needed, similar to those already enacted in Massachusetts. New legal and programmatic mechanisms are also needed to enhance multidisciplinary cooperation in the evaluation and treatment of adolescent sex offenders. One promising example exists in California, where pilot treatment programs using multidisciplinary participation are operating for juvenile sex offenders. 13 footnotes.