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Knowledge of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Laws Predicts Adolescent Sexual Behavior
Because juveniles can now be registered as sex offenders, we conducted a pilot study to investigate awareness of these policies and sexual behavior histories in a convenience sample of 53 young adults (ages 18 to 23, 79% women). These preliminary data revealed that 42% percent of participants were unaware that youth under the age of 18 can be registered as sex offenders, and when informed that they can be, participants were unaware of the breadth of adolescent sexual behavior that warrants registration. Furthermore, those unaware of juvenile registration policies, compared to those who were aware, were marginally more likely to have had sex prior to age 18. Thus, youth most at risk of registration were least aware of this possibility, suggesting that juvenile registration likely does little to deter many behaviors that are considered to be juvenile sex offenses.
Parents of Minors Who Have Sexually Abused: Legal Liability and Clinical Interventions
While children and adolescents generally do not have the right to vote, marry, or sign contracts independently, they are often held responsible for their crimes. In spite of this, some parents of minor victims file civil suits against parents of the youth responsible for the harm. The courts must then decide to what extent, if any, parents are legally liable when their minor children commit offenses. Since parents are essential to the successful rehabilitation of minors who have sexually offended, the impact of legal liability on parental engagement in therapy must be examined. This article will explore the conflicting issues of age, legal responsibility, parental responsibility, and therapeutic effectiveness in the Israeli context and propose a means for resolution.
Denying Denial in Children with Sexual Behavior Problems
Denial in some form is almost always present in the assessment and therapy of children with sexual behavior problems. Although it can be a major element in the therapeutic interaction, denial has received scant attention, both in teaching programs and professional literature. It is as if the clinical community is “denying denial.” Despite its seemingly resistant nature, denial can be used to produce impressive inroads in data collection and in developing insight. This article offers an in-depth look at the construct of denial, especially its expression among children with sexual behavior problems. It will be argued that a more informed understanding of denial dynamics can creatively inform and direct treatment of children and adolescents with sexual behavior problems and considerably improve treatment outcome.
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