year old child – more likely female – who is unrelated by blood or marriage.48
26% of adolescent sex offenders had been victims of, or witnesses to sexual abuse in their families. This abuse included incest, prostitution, and forced observation of sex between adults.49
In a study at one prison: 50
57% of incarcerated incest offenders were sexually abused as children;
14% were abused by at least one parent;
17% were sexually abused by a sibling;
9% were abused by another relative;
17% were abused by someone outside the family;
37% cited a climate of violence in their childhood homes.
The majority of persons who have experienced child sexual abuse do not become adolescent or adult sex offenders.51
Some studies have failed to find sexual victimization more frequently in adolescent sex offenders than other delinquents.52
Researchers have suggested that physical violence is more common in the background of young sex offenders than sexual victimization.53
Parents of adolescent sex offenders in one study had high levels of victimization in their own childhoods.54
A study of youth offenders found: 55
Pedophilic youth molest children, usually female, who are significantly younger than they, and commit their first offenses between ages 6 and12.
Adolescent sex offenders tend to molest females closer to their own age and usually commit their first offenses between ages 13-15; 60% of the youths were white; 59% came from lower socioeconomic settings; 78% of the sexual assault offenders and 44% of the pedophilic offenders came from single-parent
48 Cavanaugh-Johnson, T. Child Perpetrators: Children Who Molest Children. 12(2) Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal (1988): 219-229.
49 Awad, George A., and Elizabeth B. Saunders. Adolescent Child Molesters: Clinical Observations. 19 Child Psychiatry and Human Development (1989): 195-206.
50 Owen, Greg, and Nancy M. Steele. 1991. Incest Offenders After Treatment. Family Sexual Abuse. Sage Publications.
51 Kaplan, M.S., J.V. Becker, and J. Cunningham-Rathner. Characteristics of Parents of Adolescent Incest Perpetrators: Preliminary Findings. 3 Journal of Family Violence (1988): 183-191.
52 Benoit, J.L., and W.A. Kennedy. The Abuse History of Male Adolescent Sex Offenders. 7 Journal of Interpersonal Violence (1992): p. 543-548.
53 Awad, George A., and Elizabeth B. Saunders. Adolescent Child Molesters: Clinical Observations. 19 Child Psychiatry and Human Development (1989): 195-206.
54 Kaplan, et al., 1988.
55 Graves, R. Demographic and Parental Characteristics of Youthful Sexual Offenders. 4 International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (1996): 300-317.
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