Juvenile Sex Offending: Its Prevalence and the Criminal Justice Response

Kate Warner, Lorana BARTELS

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It is not widely appreciated that a considerable proportion of sex offending is perpetrated by other children or adolescents, including members of the victim’s family. This is largely obscured by court data and victim surveys. There is accordingly a danger that the issue of responding appropriately to the sexual offending of juveniles could be lost in general discussions of both youth crime and child sexual abuse. Whilst there is some literature on juvenile sex offending, its focus is generally on offender profiles, explanations for offending and predictors of reoffending. There is a void in the literature when it comes to how juvenile sex offending is dealt with in the criminal justice system. General discussions of both sentencing for sex offences and the criminal justice response to young offenders tend to pay scant attention to the issue. Accordingly, this article aims to fill a gap in the literature by focusing on the prevalence of sexual offending by juveniles and the criminal justice response to it in the wider context of juvenile offending and sex offending in general. The article’s broader aim is to ensure that the issue of juvenile sex offending is not ignored and opportunities for intervention and prevention are not lost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-75
Number of pages28
JournalUniversity of New South Wales Law Journal, The
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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