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NCJ Number: 199643 Find in a Library
Title: Relationship of Trauma Exposure to Sex Offending Behavior Among Male Juvenile Offenders
Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse  Volume:11  Issue:2  Dated:2002  Pages:25-40
Author(s): Robert A. McMackin; Mary B. Leisen; John F. Cusack; Joseph LaFratta; Peter Litwin
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study identified ways that traumatic experiences and trauma-associated feelings can trigger offenses by male juvenile sex offenders.
Abstract: The study interviewed the treating clinicians of 40 male juvenile sex offenders who received at least 6 months of relapse prevention (RP) treatment for sex offenders. RP is the most common type of adult and juvenile sex offender treatment. In RP clients learn about their offense cycle, with attention to the recognition of high-risk situations and negative emotional states that can be precursors or triggers for offending behavior. Most RP treatment approaches use a behavior-cycle model to describe relapse. Findings showed that 95 percent of the youth treated by the clinicians had experienced a Criterion A traumatic event and that 65 percent met criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) based on clinician judgments. Rates of PTSD for the subsets of offenders with histories of abuse were 86.4 percent (n=22) for those with sexual abuse histories; 68.8 percent (n=32) for those with a physical abuse history; and 84 percent (N=19) for those with both physical and sexual abuse histories. There was a 100 percent rate of PTSD for the offenders with histories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and being a victim of other violence (n=11). Overall, clinicians identified prior trauma exposure as being related to the offense triggers in 85 percent of the offenders. The following trauma-related feelings were identified as offense triggers: intense fear (37.5 percent); helplessness (55 percent); and horror (20 percent). Metaphorically, the offense cycle may drive the behavior of the sex offender as an engine drives a car, but trauma-associated feelings, particularly those of helplessness and fear, can be similar to the starter motor that initially engages the engine. This article lists specific ways that trauma treatment could be integrated into sex offender treatment. Study limitations are noted. 5 tables and 30 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile Sex Offenders
Index Term(s): Child abuse as crime factor; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Sex offense causes; Sex offenses; Treatment offender matching
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