This project aims to investigate the problems and criminal careers of juvenile sex offenders, en to assess the effectiveness of treament. Juvenile sex offenders are an understudied group. At the same time, it appears that a relevant proportion of adult sex offenders often started offending sexually at an early age. Juvenile sex offenders are not an easy research object as they form an heterogeneous group: juvenile sex offenders may offend alone or in a group, against children, or against peers. Each type of juvenile sex offender has a particular set of distinguishing characteristics and aetiology. A second complication is that the group is in a statistical sense small. Thirdly, the base rate of sexual recidivism is low.
Using consecutive studies on cohorts of juvenile sex offenders, we attempt to gather data on a sample of sufficient size to carry out analyses. In each study we use the same format to study a broad array of pertinent characteristics, looking at demographic and social variables, personality characteristics, moral development and conscience formation. Information on criminal careers is gathered retrospectively before the sampling offence (self-reported as well as convictions), and prospectively from the sampling offence (convictions). The study is not only of academic interest, but also relevant for early risk assessment and intervention. Using propensity score matching we assess the effectiveness of (cognitive) behavioural therapy, on sexual as well violent and general recidivism. In 2009 the databse was enriched with data on employment, intimate relations and fatherhood; the follow-up stretches until on average age 29. This project is a collaboration between NSCR en FORA/De Waag. We compare findings with findings on female juvenile sex offenders, who are being studied at the VU University Amsterdam, and with findings on high-risk youth.
prof. dr. Catrien Bijleveld, prof. dr. Jan Hendriks (de Waag/VU University Amsterdam), Chantal van den Berg, MSc. (NSCR/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)