Because of the highly sexualized environment we live in today, many families unfortunately have to deal with sexual offenses committed by their children. Our society has a lot of misconceptions about juvenile sex offenders and it is often that offending adolescents don’t receive the treatment that they need. At STAR Guides, we offer a program specifically designed to help juvenile sex offenders. Our experience with running this program has led us to discover the following misconceptions that society often holds about juvenile sex offenders:
Youth do not commit sex offenses
Though the incidents of teens committing sexual offenses is uncommon, it doesn’t mean that they don’t happen at all. According a study, 18 percent of all sexual offenders arrested are adolescents under the age of 17.
Sex offenders cannot control themselves and they always reoffend
This belief is entirely untrue; particularly for youth offenders. If the youth sex offenders are provided with the right help, like our Wilderness program, they are unlikely to reoffend. Various studies have shown that juvenile reoffending rate is very low, especially in comparison to adult offenders. Teens offenders who participate in treatment typically don’t ever reoffend sexually.
Only male teenagers commit sexual offenses
While it is true that male offenders make up the majority of juvenile sex offenders, this is no proof that there aren’t any female juvenile sex offenders. Research shows that 27% of all juvenile sex offenders are females.
Youth commit sexual offenses because they under the influence of drugs or alcohol
This misconception is common in our society, but it is just as untrue as the others. In fact, a study states that “juvenile sex offenders were far less likely than the non-sex offenders to be using or abusing drugs and/or alcohol”.
Victims of sexual abuse turn into sexual offenders
If the right type of help is provided to the victims of sexual abuse, it is highly unlikely that they will have any sort of sexual behavior issues in the future. The truth is that most sexual abuse victims don’t ever become sexual abusive with others.
There is no effective treatment for sex offenders
Being in the profession that we are and doing the work that we do, we completely disagree with this statement. If you can find the right therapy program for the youth, then they will receive that the help they require and learn to deal with their issues. We have seen our program help many juvenile sex offenders.
Take note of these myths and know that they are all false, if you need any more information on the subject, feel free to get in touch with us (800-584-4629) and our staff will be able to answer all your questions.
Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.