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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 171456 Find in a Library
Title: Families of Sexually Abusive Youth (From Juvenile Sexual Offending: Causes, Consequences, and Correction, P 136-154, 1997, Gail Ryan and Sandy Lane, eds. -- See NCJ-171449)
Author(s): G Ryan
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Jossey-Bass Publishers
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
Sale Source: Jossey-Bass Publishers
989 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines some of the common characteristics of families of sexually abusive youth and explores the potential of family involvement in treatment.
Abstract: Some of the common characteristics of the families of sexually abusive youth are emotional impoverishment, lack of appropriate affect, dangerous secrets, distorted attachments, and a history of disruptions in care and function. The juvenile's role in the family has often been to act as a receptacle for negative feelings in the family (especially shame, guilt, and anxiety), and the sexual abuse may become the presenting symptom in a long history of acting-out behaviors. In the exploitative family, there is no unconditional love. Parents use their children to meet their own needs and may have unrealistic expectations for their children. Rigid or enmeshed families are often secretive and isolated, and there is very little social support or system contact. The multiproblem family has often experienced chronic dysfunctions and perpetual crises. The "perfect" family initially looks functional and appropriately concerned. No family, however, can be perfect. Over time, assessment shows that the initial appearance is an image that lacks quality and depth. Underlying the image of bliss and contentment is an intense fear of family breakdown. Understanding as much as possible about the family of origin of the sexually abusive youth is important to his/her therapy. Four significant areas of the sexually abusive youth's treatment may be significantly enhanced by family involvement: the family is a rich source of developmental history, may be a primary source of supervision, may be able to support the juvenile's treatment and maintenance of change, and may be capable of making alterations in the family structure and function that facilitate change and reduce risk situations for the juvenile. 29 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile Sex Offenders
Index Term(s): Parent-Child Relations; Sex offender treatment; Sex offense causes
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