Teen Sexual Offenses

Teen sexual abuse is among the most difficult dilemmas that parents ever face, and most especially when the both the victim and the offender are the children of the same parents.  When sexual abuse involving a minor occurs, the decision must be made regarding whether a teen sexual offender can remain in the home or if out of home placement is needed. This decision usually involves the parents of the teen as well as the authorities involved with the legal aspects of the case if the offense resulted in legal charges.  Legal authorities typically include probation officers, DCFS workers and juvenile court prosecutors.

Studies of adolescent sex offenders suggest that most present as a manageable level of risk to the community and can be safely maintained in a community setting under supervision by probation officers and treated in outpatient treatment programs. However, some teen sex offenders present as a risk to the community and/or and require out of home treatment in the form of a residential treatment program, foster care or proctor care placement to ensure community safety.

A psycho-sexual assessment, also referred to as a sexual behavior risk assessment or psychosexual risk evaluation helps to identify higher risk youth sex offenders in order to make the most effective placement decisions. In some cases, recommendations from a psycho-sexual assessment include out of home treatment.

STAR Guides Wilderness - Teen Sexual Offenses

Out of home treatment may be recommended if the young offender is resistant to participating in outpatient treatment or if outpatient treatment services fails. Obtaining a quality assessment is the first step in determining the placement and treatment needs of a teen who has sexually offended. Star Guides Wilderness is a great option for obtaining an assessment as well as providing a young offer with a high-impact life changing experience. There is currently no scientifically validated system or test to determine exactly which adolescent sex offenders pose a high risk for recidivism. Research suggests that many mental health professionals and evaluators tend to overestimate the possibility of recidivism in evaluations, labeling far more teenagers as high risk than is actually accurate.
In many cases, it is more accurate according to research, to assess that an adolescent sex offender is relatively low risk unless there is significant evidence to suggest otherwise. Keep in mind, “low risk” does not imply the absence of risk, and low-risk offenders still need supervision and treatment, but it is important to note that most teen sex-offenders qualify as “low-risk” rather than “high-risk” of re-offending.
Below is a list of factors that are considered in conducting a sexual behavior risk assessment:

  • A history of multiple sexual offenses, especially if any occurs after adequate treatment.
  • A history of repeated non-sexual juvenile offenses.
  • Clear and persistent sexual interest in children.
  • Failure to comply with an adolescent sexual offender treatment program.
  • Self-evident risk signs such as out-of-control behavior, statements of intent to re-offend, etc.
  • Family resistance regarding supervision and compliance.

The decision regarding whether a juvenile sex offender should remain in the same home with the victim of his or her offense should be made carefully on a case-by-case basis. The decision is typically made by the parents of the youth along with professionals in the juvenile justice system including, judges, probation officers, DCFS child-welfare workers.

A big advantage of a teen sex offender being placed in the Star Guides Program is that it provides the family with a short-term 60-90 placement outside of the home for this evaluation to occur, while assuring the safety of the victim who remains in the home. During this time, the psycho-sexual evaluation is completed and the parents and professionals involved in the case can review the evaluation and recommendations for making the all-important decision of whether the perpetrator can return to reside in the family home or if other placement options need to be considered.

STAR Guides Wilderness - Courthouse

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