CYC-Online 110 APRIL 2008
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fact sheet

Juvenile sexual aggression

M. R. Weinrott

The legal options and clinical resources for processing juvenile sex offenders have been developing at an astounding rate; in 1980 there was only one program for juvenile sex offenders, now there are approximately one thousand according to the Safer Society. Although the body of research is largely limited to small, clinical samples, the available evidence on juvenile sex offender (JSO) characteristics suggests:

Juvenile rapists vary considerably from juvenile child molesters. They use threats, force and violence, they are likely to have suffered from parental neglect, they are less prone to social isolation, and there is little evidence of antisocial personality or lifestyle. However, they have been found to show arousal to aggressive sex, harbor condescending and adversarial attitudes toward women, and are likely to have used alcohol prior to the assault.

According to National Youth Survey (NYS) data, a national probability sample of youth, among those who self-reported a sexual assault, 92 percent had previously committed a (non-sexual) aggravated assault and property crimes. Less aggressive crimes against persons tended to precede both. Forcible rape was the final act in a developmental progression. Other antecedents of sexual violence included minor delinquency and substance use.

Tentative findings from recidivism studies include:

Recommendations include:


Weinrott, M.R. (1996, June). Juvenile Sexual Aggression: A Critical Review. (CSPV-005). Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.

This feature: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. The information for this fact sheet was excerpted from the above CSPV paper

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